Following the Lay Leadership & Lay Ministry Advisory Group’s Report, which was approved by Diocesan Synod in July 2018, a number of strands of implementation have been underway.
In particular, the lay leadership initiatives connect closely with both the development of a refreshed communications strategy, celebrating lay leadership as Christ-centred and outward-focused, and also the development of deaneries including Deanery Leadership Teams and Deanery Lay Champions.
Southwark Diocesan Lay Council
One of the recommendations of the LL&LMG report was the establishment of a Lay Council which would incorporate the Readers’ Board and SPA Council and have a much broader remit.
The Southwark Diocesan Lay Council brings together practitioners and others to celebrate, grow and support lay leadership and ministry in its many forms in the Diocese of Southwark. Chaired by Bishop Christopher, it replaces the Readers’ Board and the SPA Council as it becomes a unifying body.
It has been established in the light of Southwark Vision and Diocesan participation in the national initiative Setting God’s people Free. It is a key part of the Diocesan intent to focus on the flourishing of all God’s people and it aims to recognise lay people in ministry and leadership as Christians in society as well as in the Church.
Purposes of the Lay Council
- To focus on nurturing lay leadership and ministry in our families, schools, workplaces, communities and households through the blessing and affirmation of lay leaders and ministers, particularly in their everyday roles.
- To enable lay leaders and ministers to be properly recognised by their churches, and to recognise new worshipping communities and Fresh Expressions of Church by supporting the affirmation, commissioning and licensing of lay ministers which will be at the Bishop of Southwark’s discretion.
- To play a distinctive role in the culture change of the Diocese so that the growth of discipleship and numbers of disciples can be led by lay leaders and lay ministers working collaboratively with clergy, both in our churches (the gathered church) and outside of our churches (the sent church).
- To provide a place for debate, discernment, consultation and the agreement of the broad principles for methods of selection, training, deployment and ongoing ministerial development of the commissioned and licensed lay ministries.
In order to provide more focus on lay leadership, there was a restructuring in 2020 in the Diocesan office. The Revd Canon Wendy Robins has become Director of Discipleship, Lay Ministry and Continuing Ministerial Education, while the Revd Jeremy Clark-King is now Lead for Curate Training and Development.
The Diocese is also delighted that there have been two further publications from the National Church which will inform discussions at the Lay Council: