Self Supporting Ministry has brought me so much joy and fulfilment

First published on: 29th April 2021

As she leaves the role of Self Supporting Ministry (SSM) Advisor, Rev Sue Fulford looks back on her ministry here:

I was asked to be SSM Advisor after Rev Janet Roberts stepped down.  Janet was a hard act to follow.  Until 2016 I shared the role with Rev Nicola Milford.  Nicola was responsible for NSMs whilst I had responsibility for OLMs.  We worked well together sharing joys and a few frustrations – and becoming good friends.

 

I had been involved in Ordained Local Ministry from its beginnings in the Liverpool Diocese.  I was a member of the Council set up to oversee its introduction. Originally OLMs were local and worked within the context of a Shared Ministry Team.  During the years Nicola and I worked together we saw the nature of Non-Stipendiary and Ordained Local Ministry change.  More Ordained Local Ministers were ministering outside their parish whilst Non-Stipendiary Ministers were requesting to remain in their home parish following ordination.   In 2015 following discussions with Bishop Paul it was decided that NSM and OLM should transfer to the title ‘Self Supporting Minister’ as this better described their role and ministry.  When Nicola stepped down from the role of Advisor Bishop Paul decided that the move to SSM warranted the need for just one Advisor.

 

It has been a joy to see Self Supporting Ministry develop over the years. SSMs are confident, assured and exercising a wide range of ministry. There are so many: secular job and parish, chaplain and parish, retired from secular job and parish.  My role has been to support them in their ministry: talking through working agreements, retirement plans, any difficulties they may be experiencing and facilitating retreat days or weekends.  I have also represented them at Diocesan, Regional and National level. 

 

The retreats were always a highlight.  It was always so good to be together, catching up on each other’s news, eating together and most of all worshipping together.

 

I have been truly blessed during my time as Advisor, but it is now time to lay this down as God is calling me onto new challenges and opportunities.  Three years ago God began to call me on to something new.  After much prayer and discernment, I made the transition to Stipendiary Ministry.  I have always believed that Self Supported Ministry is best represented by an SSM and I am delighted to be handing on the role to Rev Anne Murray. 

 

Self Supported Ministry will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always do my very best to support it.  Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me over the years.  Please pray for Anne as she takes on the role.


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