On Saturday 18 September two new Lay Ministers will be licensed, and two new to the diocese will be welcomed in a celebration of licensed lay ministry that will include a eucharist and renewal of commitment for all licensed lay ministers.
Archdeacon Karen Hutchinson, Warden of Readers writes: “I am so looking forward to gathering together this year; due to the pandemic we were only able to involve the wider community of lay ministers via YouTube last year. Licensed lay ministers work so hard in so many places across our diocese that it’s good to have the chance to come together in a visible way, and for us to give thanks to God for their ministry.”
Mary Weatherstone is based in the benefice of Barnham Broom and Upper Yare. She writes:
“Becoming a licensed lay minister in a rural Benefice brings great blessing. Rural ministry is not a smaller version of the ministry of our bigger brothers and sisters in the towns and cities; it calls for a different approach but one which is equally dependent on listening to God to be guided in the way forward. Each tightly-knit village community has its own unique church community, prayerfully and faithfully loving and serving God, and these communities of faith all shine like jewels across the Norfolk landscape. It’s a great privilege to serve these dear people, many of whom have been here for generations, and who freely and lovingly take you into their hearts and homes. Out here as we live through the seasons, the words Jesus spoke about needing workers for the harvest become even more real.
Becoming a licensed lay minister, whether in town or country, doesn’t need brains or perfection, far from it. I’ve found great blessing in the learning and in giving of oneself and with God’s help, being a blessing to those I serve. You get back far more than you give, just like Jesus promised.’”
Jim Green worships in the parish of Heartsease and is an active campaigner on environmental issues. He writes:
“After nearly twenty great years with Norwich Vineyard, 2018 was the year which found my wife, Sue, and I following the nudges back into the Anglican Church. Exploration of Licensed Lay Ministry was a natural fulfillment of a hunch I’d had since my early Christian years in the seventies. Happily deferring a year to get my feet more under the Church of England table, I have been enriched, discovering – surprise, surprise- that as God was with Vineyard, so also with Anglicanism, and the riches and challenges of a hitherto glimpsed tradition.
‘ ‘Through many dangers’? Well, perhaps not, but certainly through ‘toils and snares, I have already come’ and continue. But it is a real joy to be at the heart of a church, St Francis, Heartsease, which seeks genuinely to engage with a local community and face the challenge of the Climate Emergency. Being part of our Eco Church steering group and working on a food-growing scheme in partnership with Norwich Farmshare are two ways among many in which this is being worked out.
And the best thing? Sensing that God hasn’t finished with me yet.”
Is God calling you to Licensed Lay Ministry?
If you think you may be interested in finding out more about Licensed Lay ministry, have a look at our website and talk to others in your church community, including your vicar.