Last June we were very pleased with the response to our first Season of Lay Ministries celebrating all the people of God here in Southwark Diocese are doing in service to those around them. The Season was well received and welcomed and we have decided to make it an annual event and to bring it forward in the year. We hope this will enable those who wish to explore a call to ministry to begin training in September. In 2023 the Season of Lay Ministries took place during Ephiphanytide, starting on Sunday 8 January and continuing to Sunday 29 January.

This is an opportunity to thank those engaged in lay ministry for all that they do in the Diocese, and for them to consider whether they might be being called by God to a further development in their ministerial life. It also gives clergy and laity alike the chance to encourage others to think about whether they too may be called to affirmed, commissioned or licensed ministry.

To help mark the Season, we have created a series of sermon outlines and prayers, which you will find below. We would encourage you to incorporate this material into your services, and also to signpost people to further information about the lay ministries available in the Diocese of Southwark: Reader ministry, Pastoral ministry, Evangelist, Lay Pioneers and Children, Youth & Family ministry.

Season of Lay Ministry 2023 material

Each pdf contains sermon notes, readings and hymn suggestions. The sermons have been recorded, and can be watched on YouTube, or downloaded as video files - use the mp4 link underneath the videos below, then click or tap the three dots (...) above the video player that opens and select 'download'.

Material for Epiphany 4 will be available soon.

Types of lay ministry

In the Diocese of Southwark we are committed to encouraging more lay ministry and vocations and have a wide range of recognised lay ministries. But, whether lay or ordained, Christians are called to work together to carry out God’s mission both within the Church and in the wider world. Find out more about our affirmed, commissioned and licensed ministries below.

Affirmed ministries

Affirmed ministries are locally driven and respond to local need. They often involve partner organisations in the community. They are discerned within the local context and training takes place locally.  Sometimes this is a day-long course and sometimes the course lasts for a few weeks. People taking on this kind of ministry are then blessed or affirmed at Area, deanery or parish level.

Examples of affirmed ministry include:

  • people in pastoral ministry such as Street Pastors, Volunteer Lay Chaplains in hospitals, or leaders of food banks, overnight shelters and local Christian charities
  • people working with children and young people (CYP) as church representatives on school, college, and university governing bodies, or those teaching CYP
  • worship leaders
  • people facilitating roles in new monastic communities
  • workplace ambassadors.

Commissioned ministries

Commissioned ministries operate Diocese-wide and are discerned at Diocesan level. The Diocese provides training, which usually takes two years part-time. Once trained, people undertaking this kind of ministry are commissioned by the Diocesan Bishop.

Examples of commissioned ministries include:

  • Southwark Pastoral Auxiliaries (SPAs)
  • Commissioned Lay Pioneers
  • Commissioned Youth and Children’s Ministers.

Licensed ministries

Licensed ministries are nationally recognised. People undertaking this kind of ministry are discerned at Diocesan level and the Diocese provides training to national standards (Level 4 or equivalent, which usually means two years’ part-time academic study plus two years ‘on the job’).

After training, people are licensed by the Diocesan Bishop. They may transfer their licence to another Diocese.

Examples of licensed lay ministers include:

  • Readers
  • Licensed Lay Pioneers
  • Licensed Lay Ministers (Youth and Children)
  • Licensed Lay Ministers (Pastoral)
  • Church Army Evangelists.
The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2023. All rights reserved.
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