The Mirfield Centre
Back in 2006, The Church of England received the Archbishop's Council report: Formation for Ministry within a Learning Church. A key section within the report addressed the need for the church to be 'more fully a learning church- a body that promotes a dynamic and reflective discipleship for all its members' (Hind 4.1 p.36). It went on to speak of 'developing programmes of interest to lay people who wish to serve God in their ordinary lives.' It introduced the term 'Education for Discipleship' as an umbrella term for learning that embraced the 'whole life response of Christians to Jesus Christ' rather than simply equipped them for tasks of ministry within the church’. The vision of enabling the church to become 'more fully a learning church’ embraces the following expectations (not all every time!): whether attending an evening session, a day course, a short course, or a day/residential retreat there is a hope that participants will:
- Become more confident in faith, discipleship, and understanding in relation to God and to their engagement as Christians with the world.
- Grow in their understanding of Christian identity, both within the Church community and in society at large.
- Be able to draw effectively on a solid grounding in knowledge and understanding of the Bible and Christian Tradition.
- Be able to voice an understanding informed by Christian reflection and dialogue with others.
- Grow in their awareness of themselves and others.
- Be open to the exploration of a variety of personal pathways in response to God's call to discipleship.
- Develop a deepening and sustainable life of prayer.
The Mirfield Centre, as a public work of the Community, is a significant contributor within the Yorkshire Regional Partnership, to furthering such a vision. Its location at Mirfield alongside the Community, the College, Yorkshire Ministry Course and the Wakefield School of Ministry, has the potential to realise the vision of the Hind Report, in a holistic way, as ordinands, clergy and lay Christians find opportunity to learn together through the Centre programme. Within the limits of our time and financial resources, the Centre team (three of the CR brothers are part of the Centre team) plan a programme of varied learning each year - evening events, day courses, pilgrimages, short courses and residential events. Our annual leaflet gives details of this year's programme; however new learning opportunities are often added as the year moves on and this website provides details of all events as they emerge.
People often tell us how much they appreciate the Centre's programme, particularly as it happens, here at Mirfield, alongside a monastic community. They appreciate the reflective space and place that Mirfield provides and is. They enjoy the varied programme of events, valuing not only the learning together, and the fellowship of sharing good food, but also the opportunity to pray alongside the brethren as part of a day event or the quietness of Compline at the close of an evening session. Education for Discipleship as it happens here out of the rootedness of all that Mirfield is undoubtedly enriches the varied opportunities for learning within our Yorkshire region.
The Centre's Director is also a member of CLAY- Christians learning across Yorkshire - an ecumenical group of trainers/educators who plan events together (www.claycourses.org.uk). Details of our singly and jointly planned events can be found on the twice yearly leaflets (now in their 20th edition) and Clay courses website. On from the Hind report, Shaping the Future, rightly discerned that for the 'whole church to become a learning church.....[this would] involve many players and contributors' (Shaping the Future p.3). CLAY was indeed ahead of the game in discerning the importance of ecumenical learning opportunities within the region.
A large part of the Centre's life would be missing if I failed to mention the hosting of meetings and conferences through the Centre. In particular, the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales works in partnership with the Centre for its School of Ministry provision. We are also a base for one of the diocesan resources centres (a library of learning resources for adult Christian learners) and also frequently used as a venue for a variety of diocesan and regional meetings. Other organizations connected with education are also increasingly seeking to use our facilities in this way, as they bring staff teams together for days of reflection and learning or planning of any kind.
We live a varied life at the Centre and look forward to emerging opportunities for increased partnership on site under the broad umbrella of 'Education for Discipleship' as it develops within the region.
Revd June Lawson (Director of the Mirfield Centre)
Come off the M62 at junction 25. Follow the signs towards Mirfield. Take the first exit at the roundabout and towards Leeds. Continue up this road until you see a ‘Starbucks’ on your right hand side. Take the filter lane and turn right at the lights - this is Stocks Bank Road. Drive over the brow of the hill and begin to drop down the other side. You will see a playground on your left hand side. The entrance to The Mirfield Centre is about 100 yards further down the road, on the right hand side.
Please note – the entrance to the Centre is marked by a brown ladder sign (to the right as you go down the hill, see picture). Please do not use the Community Retreat House entrance.