Hundreds gather to welcome the first Missioner in Residence

More than 360 people gathered at St Asaph Cathedral to mark the official start of work for Wales’ first Missioner in Residence.

Mark Yaconelli, an internationally renowned author, teacher and community activist is living and working in the Diocese of St Asaph for six months, focusing on youth work, community engagement and spiritual growth.

Bishop Gregory and Mark cropped webHis residency formally began on Sunday (February, 28) at a special Cathedral service where he was commissioned by the Bishop of St Asaph, in front of a congregation from across the Diocese and awarded a ceremonial “stall” in the Cathedral.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron said: “The invitation to Mark to undertake a residency here in North Wales is a bold move to assist us to reconnect the church with its local communities and spiritual roots.

“Mark brings years of experience and innovations in helping communities rebuild relationships and re-engage.  He’s a well-known Christian youth worker, teacher, community innovator and story-teller and we are delighted and excited that he agreed to be our first Missioner in Residence.”

chains on the cross landscape webDuring the service, Mark and his family were presented with gifts from Wales by members of the St Asaph Youth Forum and given some friendly words of advice.  Everyone was asked to write their name on a paper chain symbolising the “links of our shared life” which was laid on a wooden cross during the prayers.

Mark preached during the service, urging people to be bold and be free to worship God in new and creative ways.  He told a story of how in the midst of the chaos and mess of life, there is time to see the beauty and stillness of God.

The invitation to Mark to be Missioner in Residence follows a visit to the diocese last year where he was the key note speaker at The Power of Prayer workshops. His style and impact so impressed Bishop Gregory that he was invited to return, this time for six months. He will be focusing on three key strands of work:

  • Training people to run “Hearth Project” community events
  • Training youth workers and youth ambassadors across the diocese
  • Training church leaders in spiritual discipline

There will be a number of public events which will be open to all too.

You can find out more about his residency here.