Northern Ark Material


Original Proposal



About the Northern Ark.

The Northern Ark was a collaboration of six council housing estate parishes in the North of Bristol. They  worked together to create indigenous ‘Local Ministry Teams’ in each parish with a view to becoming less dependent on imported ‘stipendiary’ clergy. The underlying principle is that mission and ministry is best exercised by those who confidently present the Christian faith to their own working class culture. Secondly it is better for the Church’s ministry to be seen to ‘belong’ to the community, even when challenging it.

The approach was pioneered at St. Mary Magdalene Lockleaze. The apprentice style of training of the Ordinand, Reader, and unlicensed members, was developed with, and approved by, the Revd Malcolm Herbert and Revd Canon Derek Chedzey as the appropriate Bishop’s Officers as pilot schemes.

This Training approach, known in Bristol as Go-local, Grow-local, was launched in the diocese on 22nd July 2010.

Anticipating this launch, the Archdeacon of Bristol called a meeting of the incumbents of the Northern Ark parishes on the 7th May 2010 to explore the possibility of collaboration of the Northern Ark initiative by using the Go-local scheme. A proposal was developed for the Archdeacon.

On the 3rd of October 2011 the Bishop of Bristol approved the initiative, initially for a three year period, with a review to begin after 2 years to assess its future potential. He seeks to offer this as a pilot to the Ministry Division.

Pilot ended with a review that highlighted tensions with the Diocese. The final position was that the Diocese wish to learn from the positive elements highlighted in the review but wanted to do it their way. Over the ensuing 18 months none of the participants have been told, or can see what learning has actually taken place.


Main Publications in the course of the pilot.






Some other papers.





Learning theology avoiding academic culture