Everyone has a part to play in the Mixed Ecology of Church

Everyone has a role to play in Fresh Expressions and pioneering mission in Cumbria. Whether you’re directly involved in leading something, or praying for your community, we hope the Northern Mission Centre can support you wherever you are on your journey.  In this section you will find out what pioneering and Fresh Expressions of Church are, as well as what networks and support are available to help the mixed ecology flourish and help individuals find their place within it.

Can you tell me more about pioneering?

We often talk about Pioneering as a spectrum, from Replicators who take good ideas into new contexts, to Activists reaching out through Missional enterprise. From Pioneer Accommodators, local leaders who may not be pioneers themselves but want to make space for pioneering locally, to Pioneer Enablers who are tasked with helping resource others. The spectrum illustrates that people can, and do, pioneer in lots of different contexts. We offer training and support that’s specifically for those working, or feeling called to, pioneer something new in their context as well as those developing new things in Time Honoured Church settings. Stepping out into the new can be a scary and lonely place and the Northern Mission Centre can offer a range of support. Whether that’s through training, such as our certificate in Pioneer Mission, or through support networks which are explained more below.

What is a Fresh Expression?

A Fresh Expression of church is a new gathering or network that engages mainly with people who have never been to church. There is no single model, but the emphasis is on starting something which is appropriate to its context, rather than cloning something that has worked elsewhere.

Fresh Expressions come in all shapes and sizes, from cafe style churches to church in the outdoors, all faithfully connecting people together to explore faith. Broadly speaking Fresh Expressions are either geographically based i.e. working in a local village or area, or interest orientated, working across an area with people who share a common identity. Often they can be a bit of both!

To Find out more about Fresh Expressions in Cumbria download our Creative Mission in and Around Cumbria Booklet.

You can also read our latest Fresh Expressions 2022 Stats report here.


Pioneering can be a lonely business and one of our favourite things to hear is “I’ve found my tribe”. Obviously we started locally in Cumbria and we have our own local gathering for those involved in pioneering and Fresh Expressions called Cmpfire. However the Northern Mission Centre is also a network of networks. As an ecumenical county we support different denominational pioneer groups. There are also various pioneering networks around the county that we have contact with or are looking to help facilitate. If you want to find out what’s happening in your area or want to get something going please get in touch with Lori Passmore.


The missional ecosystem is a mix of training and people and this means we can offer support in a number of different ways. In addition to the Pioneer Enablers mentioned below, we have connected with a range of pioneers many of whom have expertise in a particular area and are willing to share their experience. Some of these people are voluntary, lay, ordained or missional entrepreneurs. This means we probably know someone who you can chat to about your situation and missional idea.

Who’s Who

Richard Passmore
Northern Mission Centre Director

Lori Passmore
Northern Mission Centre Project Officer

Emma Birkin
Northern Mission Centre Support Administrator

Emma Richardson
Pioneer Enabler Team Leader
If you would like support around Fresh Expressions and Pioneering but aren’t sure who to contact, please get in touch with Emma.

Paul Rose – based in Penrith
Education and Outdoors Pioneer Enabler

Markus Geibel (Opa)
Pioneer Enabler, Barrow (Young Adults and Families)

Chris Harwood – based in Carlisle
New Monasticism Pioneer Enabler

The Revd. Beth Honey – based in Penrith
Pioneer Enabler – Local Neighbourhoods

Captain Jeff Hill – based on the West Coast
Pioneer Enabler

Photo of Opa Geibel
Photo of Beth Honey