St Mary’s Cottingham used the season of Lent as an opportunity to find out about the people and parishes who are part of the Mustard Seed programme in East Hull. Inspired by the stories of local people from St John’s Bransholme, St Philip’s and St Giles, Marfleet and St Margaret’s Longhill, who are part of the Mustard Seed Stepping Up programme, they decided to raise money throughout Lent to support mission in these parishes.

Without the usual fundraising opportunities of Lent lunches and other events, they wondered how much money they could raise. Amazingly even more money than usual was given, because of the real and hopeful stories that had been shared. The people of St Mary’s have given nearly £1000, which will be shared across the East Hull parishes, to support mission in the local community.

Revd Nicola Bown, Rector of St Mary’s Cottingham said: ‘We’ve been so inspired by the stories from Stepping Up, and wanted to support churches and people in East Hull. We are really hoping that this can be a continuing relationship.’

Stepping Up is the first step for a parish to be involved with the Mustard Seed Programme. A year-long programme, where lay people to come together once a week, with people from other parishes in their deanery, to grow together as disciples of Jesus. Everyone who is part of Stepping Up will grow as a missionary disciple, with greater confidence to share their own faith, and to become involved in developing mission in their local community.

Each Mustard Seed church is rooted in the local community, where life is often tough and finances are stretched. The generous support of St Mary’s provides encouragement and practical support for the churches as they seek to share God’s love in their local community.

Revd Tricia Wick from St Margaret’s Longhill said. This is brilliant news and such an encouragement. We have seen our worshipping community grow through lockdown and have new ideas of how we want to reach out with Gods love in the community. The gift from St Marys will help to make this happen.

We will be sharing stories from each church about how they will be using the gift from St Mary’s to live and share Christ’s story in different ways across East Hull.

This is the first example of the Mustard Seed Ambassadors programme, people from across the Diocese who have a passion to support mission in our parishes where life is tough.

The total raised now by St Mary's is almost £1,400, as of 11th May 2021.