Might God be calling you to Licensed Lay Ministry?

On Saturday 17 September four new lay ministers will be licensed in Salisbury Cathedral by Bishop Karen as Warden of Readers, and many more will renew their promises, as they do each year in a service that celebrates this essential ministry. 

Lay Ministry Development Officer, Karen Hutchinson, says, “Licensed lay ministers come from a wide diversity of occupations and backgrounds and provide a vital link to the world of work, witnessing to the unchanging love of God in their communities and in their everyday lives. 

“LLMs are enablers and encouragers of other Christians helping them to make use of their gifts in the service of God. Some are involved in pioneer ministries and fresh expressions of church, and there is now specialist training available for those ministries in addition to more traditional roles.” 

Our four new ministers-in-waiting share some of their journey so far: 

Mandy Cook will be licensed to the benefice of Lyneham and Woodhill after completing a three-year Diploma in Higher Education on the rural pathway. She writes: ‘Retiring from a long career in teaching I felt a strong calling to use my experience to become more involved in my church community; to reach out to others and share the wonder, challenge and joy of faith. The trouble was that I did not feel knowledgeable enough about my faith to lead and support others. Three years later my studies at Sarum College have broadened my understanding and given me the tools to be able to continue my own spiritual journey as well as tempt and engage others to begin or continue along theirs. I am really looking forward to working in fellowship with both the lay and ordained community within my rural context influenced by my love of the created world and my call to teach, connect with others and share God’s love passionately and creatively. I am particularly excited to continue my work with children and families, explore outdoor worship and encourage and support others to pray, question and think about faith.’ 


Debby Griffiths began training in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, and is already using her learning and experience as a member of the leadership team in the benefice of Blandford Forum and Langton Long. Her incumbent, Chris, is very enthusiastic about having her as part of the team and working closely with her to engage more people in mission, as she has a range of interests inside and beyond the parish. Debby writes about her initial sense of calling: 

'I guess I just started to feel restless in my Spirit. I had a feeling I could do so much more in Church. That started the journey and every door seemed to open up as I knocked. I have enjoyed the course and the people I have met along the way. They have encouraged and endured me! I think I would say have a go if you feel like you could do more-you will not regret it!' 


Georgie Menzies has completed a three-year MA, including a dissertation on Communion by Extension and Lay Presidency, and will be licensed to the Weymouth Ridgeway Benefice. She writes: ‘Through my 20s I felt nudged by God to think about how I should use the gifts he has given me to build up the body of Christ so once my children were out of the very tiny years I started exploring my sense of vocation through the diocesan discernment process. This process helped me decide that Licensed Lay Ministry was the right fit for me as someone who loves studying theology and feels called to a ministry of the Word, as well as wanting to have the flexibility to be involved in different ways in my local community. I am looking forwards to being involved in leading and preaching at church, helping run an Alpha course, being a Christians Against Poverty Befriender, continuing as a school governor, and whatever other adventures God brings my way.’ 


Peter Wells also entered training after a career in teaching, first as an art specialist and then as a head in three schools, most recently in the Canterbury area. Christian witness and pastoral care has always played an important part in his calling which continues in retirement through rural church involvement, school governorship and renewed artistic interests. Recent theological training at Oxford and then Sarum College has strengthened his interest in working creatively with new forms of mission and ministry. Peter writes: ‘Moving to Winterborne Stickland in rural north Dorset provided exciting opportunities for service both spiritually and practically. Recently I have become involved in leadership of our regular Cafe-style services alongside traditional expressions of worship in our benefice of six churches. My wife and I also host two Ukrainian families and are involved with the support of other families in the neighbourhood. This unexpected opportunity to serve those in great need, has brought the community together in wonderful new ways!’ Looking ahead, Peter hopes to develop missional work through the visual arts with an emphasis on practical involvement and an inclusive sense of hospitality, based in a converted granary barn. 


All four have worked hard under very challenging circumstances, and we pray for them as they approach their licensing and future ministry. 

If you have never thought about becoming a licensed lay minister – or thought it isn’t for you – then take a look at our Lay Ministry website page and think again! 

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