A special service to celebrate lay ministry was held at Worcester Cathedral on Sunday. The service was the climax for over 40 people who have completed a year-long course to be Authorised Lay Ministers (ALMs) and who will work as part of the ministry teams in parishes, supporting their Vicars and Licensed Lay Ministers.

Authorised Lay Ministers work as volunteers in their parishes as pastoral workers, community workers, in helping to lead acts of worship, in sharing their faith with others, as children’s and youth workers or as parish administrators. Each person completes a number of training sessions in their specialist area over the course of a year and there is some training for all ALMs.

Bishop John said: “The emergence of this ministry is one of the most exciting things that has happened during my nearly ten years as Bishop of Worcester. As a result of the authorisation of over 300 ALMs over several years, there are now more people offering authorised ministry in the Diocese than ever before. That is a cause for great celebration.”

The Revd Doug Chaplin, Mission Development Officer in the Diocese was the preacher at the service. He encouraged all those present to think of themselves as ‘God’s gift’. He said: “The gifts God gives are for everyone who He calls into his Church. We should all help to serve and build up the ministry of others, sharing our faith and helping ourselves and others to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus.”

The ALMs come from a range of parishes across Worcestershire and Dudley. They have been trained to work collaboratively in ministry teams and are authorised in their own parishes.

See photos from the service.

Quotes from a few of the Candidates:

Michael Palfreyman is from Ipsley Parish and completed the course to become a worship leader. He said: “It was a very bible-based, spiritual course where we had the freedom to express our own opinions. I was very impressed and it has helped me to understand how church services are conducted.”

Jean Rogers was part of the group from the Halas Team in Halesowen who completed the course to become pastoral workers. She said: “It was an excellent course with very good tuition and gave us a real insight into the pastoral care of those in our parishes. I am particularly interested in helping families through bereavement and also being involved in baptisms.”

Jan Martin is from St. Michael’s Church in Norton, Stourbridge. She said: “It was a very helpful course. I help support the families’ worker in our parish and the ALM course has definitely given me more ideas and encouragement to progress work with children and young people in different areas.”

Claire Morgan from Kempsey Church completed the course to become and Authorised Lay Minister in Evangelism. She said: “My vicar suggested that the course would be beneficial and it’s been brilliant, particularly the small group sessions. Our course leader was inspirational and it’s definitely empowered me to go out and make contact with those moving into new housing near us, share God’s love and hopefully bring more people to faith.”

ENDS

The Diocese of Worcester is one of 44 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516
Email: ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk