The Diocese of Southwark will be launching a series of new lay ministries in September to complement the ordained and lay pathways already in place. The new ministries are: Lay Children’s, Youth and Family Workers; Licensed Lay Pioneers; and Pastoral Lay Ministers (Affirmed and Licensed). They will sit alongside the Diocese’s existing lay ministries: Readers; Southwark Pastoral Auxiliaries (SPAs); Commissioned Lay Pioneers; and Church Army Evangelists.

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “I am delighted that we are offering these new and exciting lay ministries. Our laity play a very important role in the Diocese working alongside the clergy in leading, enabling and serving our parishes and communities. My prayer is that those who feel called to lay ministry will pursue it, in the full knowledge and assurance that they will receive excellent training and support, equipping them to carry out their calling effectively and to God’s glory.”

Entry into the new ministries is via three different routes: affirmed, commissioned, and licensed.

  • Affirmed lay ministers are locally discerned and based, and they are recognised at a local service of affirmation.
  • Commissioned lay ministers serve in their parish or local community having gone through a discernment and selection process run by the Diocese. They are commissioned by a Bishop, often in the Cathedral or in the Archdeaconry. If they move parishes, they can usually continue their ministry in another parish.
  • Licensed lay ministers serve in their parish or wider community in a leadership role. They are discerned at Diocesan level and training may include attending a theological college. These ministers are licensed by a Bishop, often in the Cathedral, and their ministry is nationally recognised and usually transferable across Dioceses.

The Revd Canon Wendy Robins, Southwark Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor and Director of Discipleship, Lay Ministry and Continuing Ministerial Education, said: “We are very pleased that we are able to offer these new lay ministries in the Diocese of Southwark. This launch is the culmination of a number of years of dedicated work which began with the Lay Leadership and Lay Ministry Report and the establishment of the Lay Council.”

Revd Canon Robins continued: “We very much hope that these ministries will enable people from across the rich diversity of the Diocese to explore whether they have a vocation to an affirmed, commissioned or licensed ministry and what that might mean for their future growth and development and that of their parishes. It is such a joy to be able to celebrate the gifts of all God’s people in this way and we look forward to a great many people coming forward for selection, training and ministry.”

To find out more about lay ministries in the Diocese of Southwark visit