Jonny Hedges joins the Mustard Seed Team in March as a third Associate Programme Leader, alongside Liz Holdsworth and Angela Bailey, with Programme Leader Heather Black.

Jonny will support the development of the programme, and lead the Stepping Up learning communities growing across Middlesbrough and Guisborough Deaneries.

The Mustard Seed programme’s work of ‘Growing disciples in places where life is tough’ is part of the Diocesan Goal to ‘Reach those we currently don't’.

Stepping Up is the first step for a parish to be involved with the programme. Lay people from several parishes in a Deanery come together once a week to grow as disciples of Jesus, exploring what mission looks like in their parish and supporting each other to Step Up into what God is calling them to do in local mission. The vision is for each Mustard Seed parish to create a place of welcome, hospitality and support where people can be listened to, receive support with the challenges they face, and have opportunities to explore faith.

Heather Black, programme leader said:

“It’s a delight to welcome Jonny into the Mustard Seed team; he brings local knowledge as well as his skills and experience to the post, and we look forward to Jonny getting to know local people and parishes. I believe he will be a great source of support and inspiration, as we seek to live out Christ’s story in places where life is tough.”

Jonny is a born and bred Teessider; he grew up in Redcar and now lives there with his wife and daughter, having returned in 2018 from nine years in full-time Christian ministry, mostly in two Anglican churches ‘down South’.

Jonny has significant experience in working with all ages, having set up early intervention programmes in schools, running youth ministries and establishing mentoring programmes for lay people across a number of churches. In recent years, Jonny has worked for North Yorkshire Police as a Response Officer and Investigator.

Back in Redcar, Jonny and his wife Abi have launched Blank Canvas, a local ecumenical youth charity, providing needs-based specific projects for young people with a vision of bringing hope and releasing their potential.

Jonny says “I believe and have huge confidence in the local church of this area to bring transformation to our local communities! This is what excites me about joining the Mustard Seed team, supporting and journeying alongside all the churches across Middlesbrough and Guisborough Deaneries.”

Bishop of Hull the Rt Revd Alison White who leads development of the Mustard Seed programme, said:

“It has been a joy to see the way God is calling the Mustard Seed team into being. Jonny Hedges comes with great gifts and energy and I am confident that he is just the person we need to be alongside those who are courageously ‘Stepping Up’.”