The Season will take place between Sunday 7 January and Sunday 28 January, during Epiphanytide.  The Season is designed to encourage people to think about whether God might be calling them into new things. We hope that the Season of Lay Ministries will encourage people to think about whether God is calling them into one of the recognised Lay Ministries that we offer here in the Diocese of Southwark or simply into new things in their life.

As we move through the Season of Lay Ministries in 2024, we especially hope that our parishes will want to celebrate and affirm all those who undertake different forms of ministry within their own parish.  This is the perfect time to think about publicly affirming those who are undertaking pastoral ministry in the parish or are serving at the alter, helping in the Sunday School or youth work.  Or it might be a good time to thank those who are welcomers and sides people or who make the coffee. In this way we can help those who are already involved in working in the church to understand that they are already exercising ministry and be encouraged to think more about what God might be calling them to do. It is exciting to celebrate the gifts of the whole people of God and to support and encourage their calling and training.

Below you will find sermon outlines, with hymn suggestions and the Season of Lay Ministries prayer, for use over the period.  There are also some resources for use with children and young people on Epiphany Sunday and some hymn suggestions for All Age Worship for each of the Sundays of Epiphany. The sermon outlines below have also been published as video sermons available on YouTube to use during your service. Please contact the the communications team should you need an MP4 version.  We are also pleased to offer a preacher during the Season, please contact Helen Medland about this on [email protected]  It might be that one of those who has written a sermon could come to you.

A prayer for the Season of Lay Ministries 2024
Written by Marie Williams, Southwark Pastoral Auxiliary (SPA), Holy Saviour, Croydon

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ Isaiah 6:8 (NRSV)

Lord Jesus,
We give you thanks that
you consider us worthy to serve you
and have called us into ministries of many different kinds.
We pray for all those who are exploring what God’s call means in their lives.
Help them to know God’s peace and guiding as they listen for God’s voice.
And we pray for those already in ministry that
as they carry out your work you will help them to demonstrate your love,
your compassion and your truth
so that others may see your beauty and embrace
you as Lord and Saviour
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ.


Season of Lay Ministries 2024 material

Each pdf contains sermon notes, readings and hymn suggestions. The sermons have been recorded, and are now available to watch on YouTube.

Second Sunday of Epiphany: 14 January

Third Sunday of Epiphany: 21 January

Children & Young People

Epiphanytide  – All age talk

Epiphanytide – All age hymns 


The Royal School of Church Music have released a resource called Hymnpact – a subscription-based resource for primary schools and churches, providing hymns and songs that are appealing to children and adults alike. You can use this resource at anytime during the Season of Lay Ministries. If your school or parish use Hympact, do get in touch and let us know.

Find out more here.

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 2024. All rights reserved.
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