On Sunday 13 January the Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, led a special service at the Cathedral to commission 37 new Lay Ministers, the first time such an event has been held.
The individuals, from Anglican churches in the diocese of Chichester, formed the largest group ever to be recognised for the completion of their studies – the culmination of skills-based training for Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM).
The Diocese of Chichester serves both East and West Sussex and the men and women commissioned represented parishes across both counties. The team at the Cathedral were delighted to host this inaugural event as part of the regular Sunday morning Eucharist service.
Authorised Lay Ministers share in the public ministry of the local church, as they serve their local parishes. This may take many different forms, but in general ALMs lead, establish or work within a team of people in a particular area of ministry, and they also work to encourage and develop the gifts of others. ALM training is a one year programme and candidates can choose various areas of work: Children’s, Pastoral, Youth, Family or Community ministry; Worship and Liturgy; Mission enabler; or preaching and ministry in the workplace.
The Revd Jayne Prestwood, Officer for Lay Vocation and Ministry, runs the training programme. She said: “It is wonderful to mark the start of our Diocesan Year of Vocation by commissioning the first of our Authorised Lay Ministers. Authorised Lay Ministry is now recognised across the Church of England as a vibrant and growing expression of lay ministry. I am delighted that we will be expanding our ALM training programme in 2019 to provide flexible and affordable skills-based training in a variety of different ministries.”
You can find out more about training for Authorised Lay Ministry from the Diocese of Chichester website: https://www.chichester.anglican.org/Authorised-Lay-Ministry