Authorised lay ministry
We seek to be a Church for those who are not or not yet our members, in which the shared ministry of ordained and lay people develops a healthy Church and a world-facing discipleship - ‘your kingdom come on earth as in heaven'. These strands of ordained, licensed and authorised lay ministry support the shared witness and service of all who are called into Christ's fellowship.
Authorised Lay Ministry will enable many more people to offer their time and talents after a short but focussed affirmation of ministry course facilitated by the Diocese, encouraging local diversity and diocesan collegiality.
The processThe training for ALM consists of a one-year course of common and specialist modules. Discernment about authorisation is part of the whole process, so towards the end of the Course letters will go to candidates, incumbents and co-ordinators, checking out the call to ministry.
Authorisation will be given by the Bishop at a celebration in the cathedral, alongside the home team, and this will include a certificate, time-limited to five years, specific to parish and under the authority of the incumbent.
Ongoing support will be offered through spotting in-service opportunities and communicating these to ALMs, local support groups, the provision of some study days by coordinators, and other local providers (eg Praxis). A process of discernment with the ALM and the Incumbent precedes re-authorisation after 5 years.
Discernment and selection1. Potential candidates may be encouraged to consider a particular authorised lay ministry by their parish priest, by members of the church or by raising the possibility themselves. In every case those interested in such a role should discuss this carefully with their parish priest, and then with others in the church, bearing in mind the criteria set out below.
2. Candidates should:
- show a clear commitment to personal growth in faith and discipleship;
- be recognised by the leadership of church and by the congregation(s) as being committed to serving God's mission through the work of the parish/benefice/deanery, as well as in their own daily life;
- be committed to working collaboratively as a member of a team;
- be eager to encourage the gifts of others;
- show evidence of the gifts and skills appropriate to the particular ministry being considered, and the potential to develop them;
- have an appetite for life-long learning in a Christian context and be enthusiastic about following a course of training and formation;
- be willing to comply with the diocesan policy on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
- to complete an application form, including a reference from their parish priest; and the support of their PCC (s), including a resolution in the minutes;
- to apply for enhanced CRB disclosure;
- to commit themselves to the whole Course.
5. Where a parish is in vacancy, applications would be considered and supported by the Rural Dean in consultation with others in the parish/benefice. In such cases specific arrangements for the support and oversight of candidates in training and after authorisation must be put in place. The application process may also be delegated to a person appointed by the Rural Dean in consultation with the Course Director.
6. Applications will be considered by the Course Director and candidates may be called for a short interview.
7. The process of discernment continues throughout the course and a final decision about receiving the Bishop's authorisation will be made jointly between the Course Director, parish priest and candidate towards the end of the training period.
Code of practice for Authorised Lay MinistryThe Bishop requires that:
- All ministries, ordained and lay, will be exercised within a collaborative team, although the size and shape of the ministry team may vary at a local level
- ALMs will work with the permission and support of the Incumbent and PCC, and be accountable to the Incumbent
- ALMs will be selected by clergy and lay people together
- those authorised will attend training provided by the diocese, including sessions for the whole team
- parishes will review their collaborative mission and ministry every 5 years with the help of an outside consultant (such as Rural Dean or Lay Chair), at which authorisation may be renewed or ended
- there will be provision for on-going support by deanery or diocese
- Authorised Lay Ministers renew their commitment annually via the Rural Dean