Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

The Diocese offers Lay Ministry training for Licensed Lay Minister; Pastoral Assistant; Evangelist, Children's Ministry and Mission Shaped Ministry.

Click here to download our Training to Lay Ministry guide which details all the courses available.

Lay Ministry in the Diocese of Chelmsford

Every baptised Christian is called to ‘shine as a light in the world’ and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

From the time of the early church people have been given gifts and skills for ministry and mission by God and called to various particular ministries, both lay and ordained. In the Diocese of Chelmsford people have been selected, trained and licensed for Reader ministry for many years and now the Diocese is offering training for Pastoral Assistants and Evangelists.

The following gives a brief explanation about the different lay ministries and the training offered. For further information about selection and training for each of the ministries please contact:

Liz Watson - Lay Ministry Education Administrator


Rev Elizabeth Jordan - Lay Education and Training Adviser

Diocesan Office
53 New Street, Chelmsford CM1 1AT

Tel: 01245 294449

For more information about Transforming Lay Ministry please click here

For leaflet giving details of lay ministry options please click here.

Listen to the Address given by theologian Dr Jane Williams at our Celebration of Lay Ministry event held on October 11, 2014 at Chelmsford Cathedral.

Listen to the talk online

Licensed Lay Ministry

Lay Licensed Ministers:

  • Are lay
  • Hold the Bishop’s licence
  • Are trained to national standards
  • Are a focus and beacon for all lay ministry

This leadership role may be expressed in a number of ways, all of which may include the public preaching and teaching ministry currently exercised by Readers:

  • as an adult educator, encouraging, training and mentoring other lay ministries, or
  • as one who contributes skills of leadership in local churches and deaneries, or
  • as a co-ordinator and trainer of Christian nurture, such as children’s work and enquirer’s groups, or
  • as one who attends to the connection between faith and daily life, worship and witness.

The introduction of Lay Licensed Ministry is closely tied to the development of Mission and Ministry units and the emerging shape of the church in the diocese.

Pastoral Assistants

The ministry of Pastoral Assistant is ‘a ministry of pastoral care in the church and wider community’. Pastoral Assistants may be involved in a variety of pastoral roles including:

  • healing & wholeness
  • supporting the sick & bereaved
  • hospital, prison, industrial & other chaplaincies
  • working with caring agencies in the wider community
  • assisting with occasional offices
  • co-ordinating a pastoral care team
  • collaborating with clergy and other ministers

Pastoral Assistants are commissioned by the parish incumbent and church to work in the church, the wider community or in a chaplaincy. They are those with pastoral gifts who will exercise a leadership role in this ministry, acting as an example and encouraging others to use their gifts.

Find out more about Pastoral Assistants

Children's Ministry

The Bishop's Certificate in Children's Ministry is a new course run by the Diocese. It offers a quality training programme to encourage, equip, and enthuse those who work with children as part of the ministry of the local church.

For further information about the training for this ministry please contact: Children's Work Adviser. Tel: 07541 240607 or email:  

Find out more about Children's Ministry

Mission Shaped Ministry

We are delighted to make the Mission Shaped Ministry course available for Essex and East London. The course is jointly sponsored by Fresh Expressions and CMS in partnership with Chelmsford Diocese and The Salvation Army London North-East Division, along with encouragement from other denominations.

The course is a significant mission resource and an effective means of furthering the mission-shaped church, fresh expressions and emerging church movement in the area. The course has a particular focus on the development of individuals and teams for practices of mission that engage those outside the reach of church as it is: initiating, growing and sustaining fresh expression of church.

This course is designed for laity, clergy and church leaders. We particularly encourage small groups from congregations to come as this increases the impact of the course to better equip churches and congregations. Some who attend will already be involved in fresh initiatives, others committed to exploring the way ahead.

Find out more about Mission Shaped Ministry


The selection process for each of the lay ministry training programmes is slightly different but a key aspect of each is that the candidate is sponsored by their parish priest, interviewed by a vocations adviser and then endorsed by their Parish Church Council. This process emphasises the importance of the local church community in discerning the gifts and calling of candidates.


The diocesan Course in Christian Studies is the normal foundation of the Lay Ministry Training Programmes, except for those who have already undertaken some theological training. This foundation course is open to all and covers the Bible, church history, creeds, sacraments, spirituality, discipleship and ethics. For more information about CCS click CCS.

Those who are interested may explore lay ministry with their parish priest and local Vocations Adviser. Application for selection for further training is made by the candidate and his/her parish or chaplaincy during, or on completion of, CCS.

Normally Lay Licensed Ministry candidates and Pastoral Assistant candidates complete CCS before beginning training. Evangelist candidates may begin training during CCS year 2.

TheLLM training course lasts 2 years. The Pastoral Assistant and Evangelist courses last one year.


Commissioning takes place on completion of the training programmes.

  • LLMs  are Admitted and Licensed by the Diocesan Bishop at the annual Readers Day.
  • Pastoral Assistants and Evangelists are given permission to minister by their parish priest and Parish Church Council on behalf of the parish through a local commissioning service.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Jordan
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