Bluebells Love to learn

Training Opportunities

These courses and external training providers are relevant to the development needs of Chelmsford ministers.

To tell us about a forthcomining event you'd like to see publicised here, do one of the following:

share to the facebook group "Chelmsford CMD"

post it on mastodon, using the hashtag #chelmsdiocmd 

or email Andy at

Engaging with new housing

Is there new housing in your parish or area? Do you have questions about *How to be Christlike in New Housing Areas, *How to Deal with Practicalities, *How to Work Together as the Body of Christ, *How to Plan and Evaluate, and *How to Engage in Different Contexts?

These are exactly the issues a new resource covers: Introduction to Engaging with New Housing: a set of How-to Guides – Housing Justice. 

Small is Significant: Chelmsford Diocese Estates Churches Conference

BOOK IN TODAY. We're so excited to invite all clergy and lay people working on estates or in areas of social housing across the Diocese of Chelmsford to our day conference at Meadgate Church in Chelmsford on 6th June

Booking is now live . Tickets are free and include lunch - this is a locally sourced and run day as we celebrate all God is doing on our estates, and have local clergy and lay people run workshops, share good news stories and lead us in prayer and scriptural reflections.

We hope all who attend will be able to contribute and join their voice with others as we seek to grow this network supporting and raising the profile of estates ministry across the diocese.

Do join us on the 6th June!

The Spirituality of Walking: a short course at Sarum College

Mental Health Friendly Church Training Day, Wednesday 15 May

Kintsugi Hope are offering a training Day on being a Mental Health Friendly Church. The training day which takes place on Wednesday 15 May between 10am and 4pm at St John and St Matthews Church South Hornchurch, is part of the ongoing ministerial development for Pastoral Assistants but is also open to other ministers in the Diocese of Chelmsford - ordained, licensed, authorised, those with Permission to Officiate and church wardens.

More information here


We have a minister who would love to teach introductory New Testament Greek, whether to ordinands, existing ministers, or anyone else who'd like this training. Are you up for it? Contact the lead adviser for formation, and I'll put you in touch!

Parenting as a Church Leader

Lucy Rycroft from BRF writes: "We have a Parenting as a Church Leader day coming up in June, and I wondered whether you might be able to make the clergy in your diocese aware of it. For parents who are also church leaders, it is an enormously positive, reassuring and practical course, complementing the fantastic training that you already offer your clergy by helping them maintain wellbeing in the home and family. As a vicar’s wife myself, and a vicar’s daughter, I can vouch for the extremely helpful truths and ideas contained in the course.

The day is held over Zoom between school hours for ease of accessibility. It features video teaching from Rachel Turner, pioneer of Parenting for Faith, and discussion in small groups. We have run this day for several years now, and it always gets very positive feedback.

New this year,  is that we are offering up to 50% discounts when churches or dioceses book as a group."

More information here.

Godly Play training

Godly Play is a fantastic way to enable children and adults to explore the scriptures and their faith. It can be used in different settings including schools. This is a great opportunity to join in with some locally offered training and reflection at an accessible cost for participants.

Would you like to learn how to use Godly Play in your context? We are offering three separate days:

12th July

13th September

8th November

at the Florence Slater Room in Black Notley where you can experience Godly Play sessions and reflect on your practice. These days will be led by Godly Play trainer, Andrea Harrison.

The cost for three sessions will be £100

Please register your interest with Andrea at

Workshops coming up from the College of Preachers:

Brevity, Soul, Wit: Preaching for schools, chapels & small groups

Thursday 13th June, 10.30-13.00 | online via Zoom

Workshop leader: Alycia Timmis

There are times and occasions where the preacher is called upon to be brief and succinct – due to a range of unique circumstances. In this workshop, led by The Revd Dr (Mother) Alycia Timmis, participants will actively engage in the principle of “less is more”. We will fine tune skills of observation, improvisation and editing. In this workshop, participants will have opportunities for sharing ideas, asking questions, and undertaking practical work. Revd Dr Alycia Timmis is Priest-in-Charge of The Northleach Benefice, in the North Cotswolds, in the Diocese of Gloucester. She is also a scholar, writer and cultural historian.

Ticket prices: general, £12; ministry student, £10

Booking closes 10th June 2024.

Using personal stories in preaching

Saturday 13th July, 10.30-13.00 | online via Zoom

Workshop leader: Matt Allen

When is it appropriate to use personal stories in our preaching? How much of ourselves and our lives is it acceptable to reveal to a congregation? What if our stories involve others? Matt Allen will explore the pros and cons of autobiography when aiming to preach with authenticity. Matt Allen is the Blackburn Centre Lead Tutor at Emmanuel Theological College where he oversees the teaching in Preaching and Practical Theology.

Ticket prices: general, £12; ministry student, £10

Booking closes 10 July 2024.

Preaching with Confidence

Tuesday 23rd July, 10.30-13.00 | online via Zoom

Workshop leader: Jennifer Brown

Starting out as a preacher can feel daunting - how can I find the right words to say? How do I construct and deliver a sermon well? This workshop will explore how we can write and deliver sermons that are engaging, faithful to scripture, and relevant to our congregations. Ideal for those just starting out in preaching, this workshop will look at some of the basics of sermon writing and delivery. The Revd Dr Jennifer Brown is the Director of Training for the College of Preachers and a parish priest in the Church of England's Oxford Diocese.

Ticket prices: general, £12; ministry student, £10

Booking closes 19 July 2024.

Contact Andy Griffiths to see if you can have a discount code, and book here.

Ripon College, Cuddesdon (near Oxford) are offering a retreat for clergy and lay leaders, Renewing Hope in Smaller Churches, 15 - 17 May 2024. Smaller churches can have their specific needs and potential overlooked. This retreat will enable participants to explore what it means for hope to be renewed in such contexts.

An event about personal finance, for stipendiary clergy and/or their partners.

Richard Wood, an Independent Financial Planner from Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services, and colleagues will be talking us through a range of financial planning topics; if there’s something you’d particularly liked covered, feel free to write to Andy at in advance.

This event is free of charge. It is a hybrid event, allowing access via zoom to those who cannot attend in person. Please choose your preference when booking your ticket. 

Register here.

This event is free of charge, and open to all stipendiary and/or their partners and spouses. It takes place on Friday 7 June, from 1.30pm till 4pm at Pleshey Retreat House.

I've been reading Thrive by Pam McNaughton (London: Church House Publishing, 2023), and I thought I'd post a review.

The subtitle of the book is "Helping your multi-parish benefice to grow", and this is an area the author has serious experience of, having been the incumbent of three different multi-parish benefices (MPBs) in three different dioceses, and having developed a course on the subject (also called Thrive) for CPAS.

The book isn't rocket science, and you won't be surprised to hear the list of things listed as keys to a thriving multi-parish ministry, around which the book is built:


*Mapping and relating stories

*Enabling leaders and great teams (for what it's worth, this seems to me to be the strongest section, and if you did nothing else any MPB would profit from taking this wisdom to heart)

*A culture of discipleship - "shaping the life and activity of our churches around the Great Commandments and the Great Commission." I liked this section, though the community organiser in me would have loved there to be a recognition that we don't just worship God, serve our neighbours and share the good news (crucial as these things are), but also listen to our communities to see what they care about, and enable them to take action for justice. I don't for one moment think that Pam MacNaughton is inward-looking-except-with-regard-to evangelism, but that's such a danger for MPBs that I would want to flag it up.

*Faith sharing. This may be the most challenging section for a number of our MPBs, but it's introduced with gentleness and realism.

*Vision for the future

The value of the book lies not so much in the choice of these topics, which will be familiar, as in the clear, approachable way they are explained and made relevant to multi-church contexts. I liked the way the book often gives several options, rather than a single authoritative template: for example, when starting to move towards vision, we are given

*a template for a formal review of church life, but also

*permission not to use it because there may be one or two areas that clearly need to be worked on first, before the review is encouraging, and

*permission to start with one big project that will get people's imagination firing and raise morale, so that when it is time to review the church(es), the momentum of the project will help people look at possibilities with newfound positivity.

I also liked the way the author often chooses to ask questions rather than to give advice.

I could imagine this being a book that a whole PCC, or a standing committee, looked at together; or perhaps, the wardens and ministers drawn from all the churches in a benefice. There are online materials available as well.

In this Diocese, there are two networks for incumbents (and other ministers) with MPBs or the equivalent - "Four or more" and "More than one". If you'd be interested in being part of such a network, do get in touch with Janet Nichols or Andy Griffiths.

Theological Reading Group

Susannah Brasier writes: "I set up an online theological reading group about 18 months ago. We meet monthly, on Zoom, on the second Tuesday of the month at 2pm for 45 mins-1 hr.

So far we have read a wide variety of books, of varying genres and intensity, and had some very good discussions.

The idea came from one of my own MDRs, where I lamented (not for the first time) that I wasn't getting around to theological reading - so Jill Mowbray suggested I started this group and certainly, even though previously I often thought I didn't have time to read, I now have a discipline whereby I am always reading at least one theological book a month!

It is however not only open to clergy - ordinands, licensed or authorised lay ministers are also welcome, as well as other lay people who have an interest in reading theological books."

Do contact Susannah Brasier if you'd like to get involved.

The next Motherhood and Ministry seminar is now being advertised - do spread the word.  Rev Lizzy Holland will open up with her own experiences and then there will be time to share with one another and more time for Q&A. Booking and more info here.

These seminars are specifically aimed at women thinking about ministry/ ordination in the CofE or in the early years of ordained life, who may have children or have questions around balancing motherhood with ministry.




The institutions and providers below all offer courses relevant to the development needs of Chelmsford clergy.

The Anglican Centre in Rome

The Anglican Centre offers a range of residential courses.  Go to for more details.

The Arthur Rank Centre

A charity that supports and resources the rural church. It offers twice-yearly Rural Ministry Courses and Multi Church Ministry Workshops

It also has resources for the creative use of church buildings 

The Buck Stops Here: Leading in MIssion and Ministry in Your First Incumbency

This residential course is offered by CPAS for those moving from a curacy to a first post of responsibility, or for those moving from overseas or sector post to an incumbency or team vicar post.

Los Olivos

A varied programme of courses and retreats in southern Spain, some of which will be eligible for CMD grant – check with your Area CMD Adviser before booking. Travel is not eligible for grant. Go to for details.

LYCIG Leading Your Church Into Growth

A training programme which takes the mystique out of growth and makes it ‘normal’ and do-able. It is likely that a LYCIG course will be run in Chelmsford Diocese in 2013.

LYCiG is a four-day residential course for lay and ordained leaders. Now in its thirteenth year, the course was pioneered by Robin Gamble and others, and is led by a team drawn from many different backgrounds, traditions, and ministry contexts. All are practitioners who can speak from personal experience of leading churches into growth. "The most valuable training we’ve ever done", is a typical comment from some of the 70 churches represented on the course.

For the current Conferences programme click here


Was formed in 1990 to support liturgical education in the Church of England. It offers a series of training events, mostly regional, for those who lead worship - go to

Faith in Business Conferences

This may be particularly relevant to Readers who want to be better equipped to address issues of Christian faith in the workplace. For the programme go to

The Centre for Pioneer Learning

A partnership between Ridley Hall and Westcott House. The Centre aims to serve all pioneers who are establishing new forms of church and taking the church to new places  throughout the UK and the world. Their aim is to establish training for pioneers by pioneers while also recognising the need to learn from others with skills, insights and experiences which may help pioneers. The Revd Dave Male organises 'Break Out', a national annual gathering of pioneers.

Sarum College

In Salisbury is an ecumenical centre for Christian study and research. It offers a variety of short courses and study programmes in theology, culture, Christian leadership, liturgy and worship, biblical study and sprituality; also singing, music and the arts. Many of these are eligible for CMD grant. For upcoming events or for their whole programme go to

The Society of Mary and Martha, Sheldon

The Society of Mary and Martha in Devon has a varied programme of residential weeks and workshops, including Myers-Briggs and Enneagram, and specifically for clergy, the 12,000 mile service, some of which (but not all) will qualify for use of CMD grant. Go to

St John’s College, Nottingham

Offers In-service study weeks. Go to

How to obtain your CMD grant…

Many of these courses are eligible for funding from your CMD grant. 

If you have questions about these or other training courses, contact your Area CMD Adviser or the CMD Administrator Sue Denham  (01245 294450) .

For information on Sabbatical Leave and Study contact your Area CMD Adviser.

When requesting money for CMD or Reader grants, applications must be received at least a month prior to the event and before booking or attending. To do this fill in an electronic grant form and send it to your Area CMD Adviser, Andy Griffiths, Jane Richards or Ian Hilton who will authorise and send to Sue Denham who will raise the payment. You do not need to send a copy of the brochure. It is preferred to make payments by BACS. See CMD Funding.

For consultation in advance of applications for any CMD events not included here, please contact your Area CMD Adviser.

For more information or to report anything wrong with this page please contact Andy Griffiths