First steps for The Order of the Black Sheep

Monday, 25 July, 2011

Mark BroomheadMark Broomhead has been licensed by the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Dr Alastair Redfern, as full time minister to The Order of the Black Sheep – a fresh expression of church for those who feel like the 'black sheep' of society. 

The Chesterfield-based Order is due to be launched on 24 September by the Archbishop of Canterbury at its church base, known as The Gates.

The Order of the Black SheepIt was made a Bishop's Mission Order on 18 July which enables it to take its place officially alongside traditional parishes in the CofE. Mark, an Ordained Pioneer Minister, said,

This is not only important in allowing us to work as part of the Church of England but also because it is the established church saying to a sometimes misunderstood culture that it is valued and welcome.

The Gates - logoA few days after Bishop Alastair signed the BMO, Mark took on the lease for premises in Chesterfield town centre. Following renovation work during the summer, the space will become The Gates and include a chapel, cafe/bar and media suite.

Mark added,

The name, The Order of the Black Sheep, was chosen because a black sheep was for many years seen as the worthless sheep of the flock, the one that couldn't produce any wool that was worth anything. In medieval times it was even seen by some as a sign of the satanic. I really pray that The Order of the Black Sheep will be a home for the marginalised, for members of the alternative community who feel a little bit like the black sheep in society – and the church. Our motto will be along the lines of 'better a black sheep than a goat.' Community is about the people, so as we grow into deeper relationship with each other and God, more of the personality of the Order will become apparent. The only qualifying characteristic we share is a desire to know more of the revolution that is Jesus.