As we look to the future of our diocese, our common desire is to see an increase in numbers in our congregations, the multiplication of congregations and the spiritual depth and maturity of each baptised member of the Body of Christ.
We recognise that there are many lay people in our churches with gifts that can be nurtured, encouraged and used.
There are many areas in which people contribute to the ministry of our parishes both in practical service and in supporting the spiritual and missional life of the church. Experience suggests that growth in faith and growth in discipleship for an individual can often follow being entrusted with ministry responsibility, such as leading a small group, or leading an act of worship.
Many incumbents are active in identifying and helping to develop different gifts and in delegating key areas of ministry to lay people; youth leaders, pastoral visiting, baptism preparation, children’s ministry, bereavement support are ministries regularly exercised by lay people.
Other than the requirement to follow safeguarding policy, this type of ministry is usually developed and authorised within the parish and under the leadership of the incumbent, with appropriate consultation at the local level. Fit for Mission
recognises the need for this variety of lay ministry and the need to encourage and resource all parishes to be active in developing these gifts and ministries.
Many clergy also desire to encourage lay people with potential gifts into a ministry of preaching and/or leading services of public worship. Readers, of course, exercise this vital ministry under Bishop’s licence. The specific focus of this policy concerns the circumstances under which permission to lead public worship and to preach might be given at a local level to lay people who do not hold a Bishop’s licence but may exercise a preaching and liturgical ministry under Canonical provision, the authority of the Bishop and the supervision of the incumbent.
We continue to affirm our recognised and valuable ministries of Lay Readership, Self Supporting Ministers, Shared Ministry Teams and Local Missional Leaders.