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In Praise of Licensed Lay Ministry

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Sep, 2020 11:36 AM

As a Diocese we believe strongly in collaborative ministry between our clergy and those who serve without being ordained.

In Praise of Licensed Lay Ministry

Photo courtesy @TMinistryCRC on Twitter

We recognise many of the aspects of lay ministry by having it blessed by our Bishops, who authorise members of our churches to serve as Licensed Lay Ministers as well as lay leaders and pioneers in worship, pastoral care, outreach and pioneer ministry.

Here, Licensed Lay Minister in Training Barbara Priest talks in praise of the role is she about to undertake:

"As I enter my third and final year of training for Licensed Lay Ministry here in Salisbury Diocese, I find myself reflecting on what it might mean to be an LLM.

"Due to the pandemic lockdown, our summer term placements kept us in our home parishes to assess ministry and mission under Covid-19 from these familiar surroundings and I am sure I was not alone in emerging from the experience with personal issues to consider as well as those of the wider picture. The summer break which followed provided an effective opportunity to assimilate what I had discovered and reflect on new avenues which may feature in my future as an LLM. But it also reminded me just how versatile LLM ministry can be.

"What will the role of LLMs become as we move forward from this unbelievable year? I would suggest the broad answer could be absolutely anything. This was why I felt called to lay ministry from the outset; recognising the flexibility within the official role description to be creative, imaginative, and to respond to the needs that are unveiled before me.

"My distinct calling is to contemplative ministry, and the initiatives I have already shared have proved this to be a need that I feel will only become stronger in our demanding modern world. But that is my sense of calling and others will have their own vocational vision, each according to their own gifts.

"Although training is carried out in the company of ordinands, Licensed Lay Ministry remains distinctive. Yes, the required knowledge and training are similar, but the outcome and vision with which we enter our personal ministries will be vastly varied. And, as I am currently discovering, these ministries evolve and transform over time, opening new paths and possibilities we may not originally have considered.

"Through prayer and paying attention to God’s call we can take that ministry anywhere we feel drawn, and that might not be in church on Sundays. LLMs are particularly well placed to serve their communities outside of the church building throughout the week, and wherever we are meant to be, we can be sure that God will find a way of nudging us in that direction!

"Catherine of Siena reputedly wrote “Be whom God means you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Licensed Lay Ministry is arguably one of the most exciting and fulfilling vocations, offering the potential to take Christ’s message far beyond the church walls and in a variety of ways, and yet few in our Diocese seem to explore it.

"So, I urge you, if you feel called to ministry but are not yet clear where you are being guided, talk to your vicar initially, and then to our Vocations Co-ordinator, and begin a conversation. Because if ever you were needed, it is now!"

Our main vocations page is here.

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