Creating Genuine Partnership for Mission



Pioneer Connexion is a partnership between the Methodist Church and the Pioneer Network of Churches across the UK.

St Andrews, Sholing

St andrews1

The St Andrews Methodist Church closed in 2009. The building was put on the market and a large cash offer was made to create more housing. The Methodist Circuit agreed to explore a mission partnership with Pioneer and rejected the cash offer.

We sent a small team of people in the autumn of 2010 to develop a weekly Messy Church and a regular youth outreach. There are now 60 people, mainly unchurched, attending Messy Church and an average of 50 young people attending the weekly youth drop-in.

As at October 2014, St Andrews is entering a whole new season.  The Oasis Academy are relocating the Alternative Learning Provision that has been running at St Andrews since it re-opened.  We are grateful for their partnership in the building during that time.

Easter 2014 did, however, seen another new beginning with the West End congregation of New Community Church joining us there to make it their spiritual home.

New co-operation and partnership opportunities are being explored and St Andrews promises to be a place where New Community, City Life and the Methodist Churches make practical partnership in worship and community life a reality.

286, Swaythling

Section image swaythlingd8h 0086

Opened in 1931, Swaythling Methodist Church sits at the junction between a large council estate and the campus of Southampton University. The building boasts a large 500 seater auditorium and an additional 28 rooms. The congregation, once thriving, had dwindled to around 20 people and was unable to maintain the building. They had decided to sell the building.

We agreed to move one of our congregations into the building. The 200 strong City Life Church moved into the main auditorium in October 2010.

Today, that congregation has grown to over 300 members, the Methodist congregation continues to meet in a newly refurbished worship space, a new congregation has been established on a Sunday afternoon reaching people from the local estate, a wide range of missional activities are now taking place throughout the week and an architect has been engaged to develop plans for a complete refurbishment of the building to include new worship area, community space and student accommodation.

Netley Methodist

Section image netleyimg 0651

The Gateway, House of Prayer - A Pioneer Connexion Missional Partnership

Netley is a village of 7,000 on the outskirts of Southampton. Netley Methodist Church is situated right in the centre of the village. The church closed in early 2011. There is only one other church in the village – an Anglican church.

A group of 12 people from Pioneer began to meet to worship and pray in the building in March 2012 and we fomrally re-opened the building for worship on 14th October 2012, which co-incided with it's 100th anniversary of the original opening.

Since that time we have moved our regular worship event to Friday evenings, with morning and evening prayer meetings taking place most days.

Netley has developed quite naturally into a House of Prayer - a place where followers of Christ can gather in fellowship and meet together in the presence of God. The worship is unstructured and unfettered by religious ritual. It is a place to intimately encounter the Holy Spirit in a way which belies the somewhat functional outward appearance of the building.

Endike, Hull


Mark Button shares his reflections on 80 years of Endike Methodist Church and reminds us of how the past can re-inspire and remind us of God's call upon our lives, and gives us hope for the future - to "Attempt great things for God, and to expect great things FROM God". 

An Exciting, New Missional Leadership Post in Hull.

In 2012 we advertised for the role of someone to become our first Pioneer Minister based in Endike Methodist Church in Hull. We were looking for someone who would be excited by new challenges!  A missionally minded enthusiast! Someone with church leadership experience and a desire to build community!

Now we have found just the right husband and wife partnership to serve this community and Mark and Deana Button began their new life of ministry here on 1st December 2013, "Authorised to Serve" as Methodist ministers.

Mark and Deana now form part of the Hull West Circuit Team with specific responsibility for reaching out to the people of Endike, making disciples and building community with regular support from the Pioneer Network.

Watch this Space!

Section image watch this space 300x450

There are a number of job opportunities arising around the UK where we are looking for "Pioneer Ministers" to take responsibility for developing Missional Communities as part of a local Methodist Circuit.

December 1st 2013 saw the succesful appointment of our first Pioneer Connexion ministers in Hull, Mark and Deana Button. We anticipate other opportunities coming up in the South West with more in the pipeline.

As we finalise details such as start dates, finances and housing we will be advertising these roles on this site in the next few weeks.

If you are interested in being kept in the loop, please do use the "Get in Contact" form and we will ensure all opportunities are emailed to you.

2014 Video


"Over the past four years, the Methodist Church has benefitted from and contributed to an increasingly warm and fruitful relationship with the Pioneer Network. The number of healthy explorations of potent mission and ministry projects in circuits and local churches grows almost weekly at the moment. In some parts of the Connexion substantial healthy and mutually enriching partnerships are now fast emerging. I have reported this exciting development to the Conference who have rightly encouraged that Methodism continue to seek to work for God’s kingdom with a wide variety of partners in a fast changing ecumenical context: and of course Billy Kennedy, the leader of the Pioneer Network was invited to address the presbyteral session of our Conference last year and was warmly received. I warmly encourage and commend further explorations and deepening partnership with the Pioneer Network as they arise.   

Martyn Atkins"

Flavel Church, Dartmouth

Section image flavelchurch

Set right in the heart of Dartmouth on the South Devon coast, Flavel Church is a Methodist URC Local Ecumenical Partnership.  In September 2013 Karl and Deb Stone moved to the area to assist with the leadership of the church after completing the IGNITE leadership course in Southampton.  



In February 2014 Doxa Deo moved to Griffiths Road, Wimbledon, where they now share premises with the Methodist Church. There are plans to further extend the partnership to Raynes Park. Watch the video to find out more about this exciting development - you can hear Revd Margaret Adams (Methodist Minister), Ioannis Dekas (Doxa Deo church leader) and members of both congregations sharing something of their experiences to date in working together.

Pioneer Conference



A great way to get to know Pioneer better is to come along to the Annual Leaders Conference in Southampton.  This next takes place on the 6th and 7th March at Central Hall.  This is one of those events to just put in your diary and drop everything else!  

There will be a strong Methodist presence at the conference this year with a Pioneer Connexion seminar stream for those interested in the partnership and how it works.  Many have already booked their place - you can book yours by visiting the Eventbrite web site - Just click the picture above to be taken to the booking page.

Regional Gatherings

Fah535o6t16l08mzyvet d8h 2015

We are developing a program of Regional Leaders Gatherings in various locations around the UK so that you can feel a part of the growing community of both Methodist and Pioneer Church members who are working together for revival in our towns and cities.  Contact us using the "Get in Contact" page if you'd like to find out when and where your nearest gathering is.  If there isn't yet one in striking distance it may be all the encouragement we need to get it sorted!

Regional Gatherings presently take place in Southampton, the South West, Chichester and Loughborough.  We anticipate that Maidenhead and Manchester will also come on stream soon.

School of Theology

Vd3vzierroiqdychbxyk d8h 2944

Each summer you can be part of the Pioneer School of Theology - this three day residential event at High Leigh in Hoddesdon, Herts, is a great opportunity to get to know people and get deeply into the chosen theme.  Watch this space for details of the next date and booking information. 

'The Pioneer School of Theology' has become a central reference point for our key and emerging leaders since 2010. Both those with a theological background and people new to in-depth theology have loved the times. Worship leaders and artists have also been inspired in their work by our times together.

Over the years we have explored Hermeneutics, The Trinity, The Kingdom of God, Salvation and, most recently, in 2014, we looked at 'Reconciling All Things'



The relationship between The Methodist Church and the Pioneer Network began in earnest in 2010 and has been steadily growing ever since. Our video stories will help you to gain something of a picture of how it began and is developing.

Whilst there is no formal "covenant" between our churches, recognition from the Methodist Church and Pioneer has come in a number ways:

  • Pioneer's successful application to become a member of Churches Together in England was sponsored by members at the highest level of the Methodist Church.
  • Pioneer was invited to attend the 2014 Methodist Conference as an Associate Member of Conference, fully recognising Pioneer's status as an Ecumencial Partner.
  • Part of the work of Pioneer Connexion is being funded by a Methodist "Mission & Ministry" Connexional grant, recognising the "connexional significance" of the work being undertaken.
  • Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, was the opening keynote speaker at the 2014 Annual Leaders Conference.
  • Billy Kennedy, leader of the Pioneer Network, was invited to address the 2013 Methodist Conference.
  • Many Methodist Circuits and Districts are now involved directly in our partnership projects and a number of these have been co-funded by a combination of Pioneer and Methodist Circuit/District funds.
  • October 2014 saw our second Pioneer Connexion leaders summit meeting at Methodist Church House in London, jointly hosted by Billy Kennedy and Martyn Atkins with approxiately 75 attendees.

Video Archive

Zt6p3poqfqvegutuekem img 0230

Please use this section to review previous videos produced by Pioneer Connexion, telling our story from the earl days of 2010 to 2014.

Our Story 2015


It has been another exciting year for Pioneer Connexion; a year in which we have learned a great deal about what makes partnership flourish, and some of the practical and organisational difficulties for us to overcome. We have partnership projects in so many places that it isn't practical to list them here, so we will be producing a map for you to see what's happening.

In the meantime, our latest video, launched at the Pioneer Leaders Conference 2015 explains some of what has been happening and where we think we may be headed.  We are grateful to all our Methodist and Pioneer Network friends who are working hard to make partnership a daily reality. Thanks also to all those who have taken part in the making of this video.

Conference Itinerary 2015


Pioneer Leaders Conference

Friday 6 March - Saturday 7 March 2015 | Central Hall, Southampton

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Central Hall for our Pioneer Leaders conference 2015. The conference kicks off at 9.00am on Friday 6th March and runs through until 7.00pm on Saturday 7th March. 

We are delighted to have Pete Greig (24-7 prayer) & Alan Platt (Doxa Deo) coming to speak at this years conference. A breif outline of the conference is as follows:

Friday 6 March 
09:00 - Doors Open
10:00 - Main Session 1
11:30 - Break
12:00 - Main Session 2
13:00 - Lunch
14:30 - Seminars
16:00 - Break/ Networking Time

19:00 - Main Session 3
21:30 - Close 

Saturday 7 March
09:00 - Doors Open
10:00 - Main Session 4
12:30 - Lunch
14:00 - Seminars
15:15 - Break
15:45 - Seminars
17:00 - Break
17:30 - Main Session 5 
19:00 - Close 

To keep up to date with announcements  for not just The Pioneer Leaders Conference but what is happening with Pioneer, connect with us on FacebookTwitter & at

We looking forward to seeing you there!
Billy & Caroline

Get in Contact


Central Hall

St Mary St, Southampton, SO14 1NF

023 8023 7700

Send us a message!

What's + ?



Share this site