New Licensed Lay Ministers

Scientist, solicitor and sports enthusiast made ‘lay’ ministers at special Cathedral service

Saturday 19 May was a very special day for the Royal Family - and for football fans - but also for a scientist, a tri-athlon runner and a solicitor, as they were among a group of 15 people licensed as Lay Ministers (LLM) in the Church of England at a special service in Rochester Cathedral.

A ‘Licensed Lay Minister’ is a distinctive role within the Diocese of Rochester - part of the Church of England serving north west Kent, Medway and the two London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley – as it is a position for those called to work for God and the Church, but not called to be ordained. The service was led by Bishop Laurie Green (his sermon can be found here)

As well as being able to preach in church and take services, LLMs are able to develop a particular focus for their ministry; this might include specialising in working with elderly people and those with dementia; with the bereaved; with children and families; and, caring for the vulnerable in their communities.

Lightbulb moment

Chris Ireland, a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant and a former hospital Haematology Biomedical scientist, had a lightbulb moment when she realised she was being called to share the message that science and faith do go together, despite many people still thinking they do not:

“At church they know me as Chemical Chris, especially when I’m doing a crazy science demonstration as part of an All Age service! I particularly want to help children realise that caring for our wonderful world is not only important because it is their future but also because it is God’s gift to us that he expected us to look after.”

Funmi Makanju, a solicitor said: “With my licensing I particularly wish to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic members of the Church to become more involved and use their gifts.”

Training

To become an LLM a person undertakes 4 years of part time training. It focuses on developing Christian leadership and gaining knowledge and skills in different expressions of ministry.

For sports and real-ale enthusiast, Graham Wilkinson, it will be an opportunity to continue his work encouraging men to explore their faith and spirituality:

“We men are very good at nourishing our physical life but ignoring our spiritual life.  My hope as a Lay Minister is to awaken in men their spiritual life, by building friendships through a variety of activities such as cycling, curry nights, wine and beer tastings, to pub discussions on exploring faith, so they will come to know life in all its fullness.”

All those licensed on Saturday began their journeys after attending an ‘It’s your calling day’, organised by the Diocese of Rochester, the part of the Church of England serving north west Kent, Medway and the two London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

Celebrating variety

Karen Senior, Warden of Lay Ministry for the Diocese said, that the 15 LLMs were from diverse backgrounds, including retired people, those in full time employment, as well as men and women from a variety of parishes from across the region:

“God loves variety, as we see every day in his creation and the people in it, and we certainly see it in the varied ministries of the LLMs taking their first steps on their new journey with Christ.

“This not the end, but an important stage on their journey.  We trust that their training so far will give the foundations for continued learning and growth in ministry with colleagues in the parishes and other settings in which they will serve God. Please pray for them on this momentous day.”

 




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