Profile: Fresh Expressions Enabler

RICHARD PASSMORE 1An introduction to Richard Passmore, newly appointed Fresh Expressions Enabler for the Diocese of Carlisle.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Most people say my current look of long hair and beard suits my personality, but I hope people will meet me and judge for themselves as to why that may be. I am married with three children. My background is in youth and community work and growing new forms of church and mission with young people and communities that would not normally come near church. I grew up in Devon and spent most of my working life so far in the south west, and I love the sea, coast and countryside.


What will your new role entail?

As Fresh Expressions Enabler I will be helping people explore and develop new forms of church that can help them connect with one another and the people around them. There is already lots of good stuff happening around the region, so I will be encouraging people to reflect on what God is already doing in their community and consider how they can get involved as well as encouraging people to take risks, step out and see what happens.


What do you think about the God for All vision?

So often people criticise churches for not working together or for not being outward looking enough, and the God for All approach really challenges these assumptions. I am excited by the opportunities God for All presents. It is a courageous vision and big task, but like most strategies I am sure there some things that will work well and others that will need to change .


Where does your new role fit within God for All?

My role is most closely aligned with the OutReach part of the strategy, helping churches reach out beyond what the church is already doing. There is such a richness in the different denominations that are part of the God for All vision, and if we can draw on these traditions and encourage local people, to really wrestle with what it means to be and grow church in their local context, I am sure new fresh expressions of church can be nurtured and supported.


What does it mean for you to know God in your life?

When I was younger I thought I had the Christian stuff sorted but I recognise that I can only ever know a small part of who God really is, and as soon as I try to pin God down, God breaks out of the box, and calls us to discover more. If you think about the image of a cross, we see it is not simply about the part that points upwards to my relationship with God, but it is also rooted in the earth and is about restoring our relationship with creation. Equally the cross reaches outwards and seeks a restoration of our relationships with each other and the cross reaches inwards to challenge my relationship with myself. Jesus challenged us by his words and actions to discover life in all its fullness and that is journey we can only go on together.