Is God calling you to be a Lay Pastoral Assistant?

Lay Pastoral Assistants are people who use their unique gifts and talents to support the pastoral ministry of their local church. They work alongside clergy and other ministers to care for the spiritual and practical needs of the congregation and wider community. 

As the ministry of a Lay Pastoral Assistant can be so varied, people will bring with them many gifts - some of which may be very specific. There are a few points that everyone considering, or being considered for the ministry of a Lay Pastoral Assistant will have: 

  • A love for people and a commitment to their local church. 

  • The ability to demonstrate pastoral sensitivity and good listening skills. 

  • A commitment to working with the local clergy team, other ministers and LPAs. 

  • A willingness to minister prayerfully. 

  • A willingness to attend initial training and to continue to take part in ministerial development. 

Starting Saturday, 16 September, the Poole and North Bournemouth Deanery will be hosting four LPA Training sessions at Christ Church, Creekmoor, BH17 7XZ. 

Sessions will run for four Saturdays starting from the 16 September, with each session running from 9 am to 3.30 pm. Light refreshments will be provided by Christ Church, but participants are asked to bring their own lunch for each session. 

All who wish to attend must arrange a DBS ‘Enhanced’ Child and Adult clearance through their minister or chaplain prior to beginning the course, as well as providing a £15 fee payable to Christ Church to cover light refreshments and utilities. 

It is also compulsory that all Lay Pastoral Assistants undertake the diocesan Basic, Foundation, and Awareness of Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Training courses which can be completed online through the CofE Safeguarding Training Portal

What is an LPA? 

A Lay Pastoral Assistant (LPA) is a member of the clergy trained and authorized to engage in pastoral ministry on behalf of the local church. Individual ministry will vary according to each person's gifts and talents, as well as according to the context of the local situation. 

In all cases, however, the ministry of an LPA calls for a loving and compassionate heart with a willingness to listen and support those in need. 

The ministry of an LPA holds a crucial place in the life of the local church, relying on good relationships and communication with both clergy and the wider community. It’s for this reason that LPAs are invited into ministry by their parish priest, with their calling affirmed by their local church. 

What do LPAs do? 

The ministry of individual LPAs will depend on their specific skills and gifts, whilst also on the context of the local community as a whole. However, the ministry of an LPA may include: 

  • Visiting people at home or in the hospital; 

  • Working with children and young people; 

  • Visiting and supporting the recently bereaved; 

  • Leading small groups; 

  • Helping to prepare people for baptism, confirmation and marriage; 

  • Leading worship in sheltered and residential homes; 

  • Administering the sacrament to people at their homes or in the hospital. 

For more information on these courses and to be issued with a Participants Registration form, contact Christ Church by telephone at (01202) 267427, or by emailing them at

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