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Training for Licensed Lay Ministry

Students follow a two year programme which is delivered in partnership with the Eastern Region Ministry Course.

For events, training and learning opportunities which may be of interest to Licensed Lay Ministers, please visit our training and learning opportunities section.

The initial training for licensed lay ministry is thorough and students follow a two year programme which is delivered in partnership with the Eastern Region Ministry Course which oversees the academic component of the training. Students study the national Common Awards, validated by Durham University, and attain a Certificate in Theology for Ministry and Mission by the end of two years. There is scope for further university study after admission and we hope to enable Licensed Lay Ministers to progress to Diploma and Degree level if that is appropriate.

The Church’s ministry in the twenty-first century is demanding and it is vital that its public ministers have a meaningful prayer life, a sound biblical knowledge, are able to reflect theologically and have appropriate pastoral skills to enable them to serve effectively in their communities.

But although the training course is challenging, it is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of students many of whom have not studied in earnest for many years, if at all. The course begins with a week-long summer school, which includes some introduction to study and IT skills and to the study of theology more generally as well as enabling students to begin to reflect on what it means to be a Christian minister.

The course tutors are all experienced in supporting students with vastly different academic backgrounds and all have significant experience of Christian ministry.

Pioneer Licensed Lay Ministry Training

We offer a Pioneer Pathway through licensed lay ministry. It is for those who see their focus on being outside ‘traditional’ churches, with the balance of their time weighted towards fresh expressions and church planting. It will include most of the ‘standard’ Licensed Lay Minister training on Old and New Testament, Doctrine, Worship and so on, but in addition will feature modules such as Creating New Christian Communities. Those who complete the course will be capable of ministering in both traditional and new church communities, with the desire and capacity to start new Christian communities in a variety of contexts.

Children and Young People’s Pathway

From August 2023 we will be running a pathway through LLM training which focuses on ministry with children and young people. This will include modules on biblical studies, theology and ministerial practise as well as modules on youth and children’s work, child development and so on. Like other LLM pathways, it is a two year programme which will lead to a certificate in theology and ministry from the university of Durham and, if students demonstrate suitability for public ministry in the Church of England, licensing as an LLM by the Bishop. Teaching will be partly in face to face classes and partly online.

Selection for Training for Licensed Lay Ministry

If, after working with a vocation advisor for some time, you believe that you have a call to licensed lay ministry, you will be invited to attend a selection day where that call can be tested.

A selection day consists of worship, discussion, individual interview, presentations and written and practical activities, during which a team of experienced selectors will observe you and the other candidates and prayerfully endeavour to discern whether you have a vocation to licensed lay ministry, whether you need to undertake more work before a decision can be made or whether you should, perhaps, be exploring other avenues of service. Every effort is made during the day to create a relaxed atmosphere in which candidates can do justice to themselves.

It is important to remember that, if the selectors recommend you, their recommendation is that you should commence training for licensed lay ministry – the process of discernment continues throughout the period of your training.

A library of theological books is available at Diocesan House for all Licensed Lay Ministers and Ordinands in training to use. In addition, students can borrow books from the Cathedral library.

Find out about Licensed Lay Ministry Training!

We hold an open evening in February or March each year (February 8th in 2024) at Diocesan House when we share information about the course and answer any questions you may have about it. To register to attend, please email Marleen Madinda at The evening will run from 7.30pm till 9.30pm and will include a short individual interview if you are going to selection.  There will be a chance to meet current students as well as staff.