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

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."

On these pages you will find details of training and resources for

  • Licensed Lay Ministry
  • Pastoral Assistants
  • Evangelists
  • Pioneer Ministry
  • Authorised Local Preachers
  • Spiritual Directors
  • Children and Youth work


You can begin training as a Pastoral assistant or Evangelist straightaway. Some people like to do the Course in Christian Studies first, some do it after their ministerial training.This foundation course is open to all and covers the Bible, church history, creeds, sacraments, spirituality, discipleship and ethics. Find out more about  CCS.

Those who are preparing for Licensed Lay Ministry need to comlpete the CCS (or equivalent learning) before beginning LLM training, while the Authorised Local Preachers must do it in their first three years of being authorised. Please look at each of the forms of ministry to see how to make application.


Commissioning takes place on completion of the training programmes.

LLMs  are Admitted and Licensed by the Diocesan Bishop at the annual Celebration of Lay Ministry.

Pastoral Assistants and Evangelists are authorised by their parish priest and Parish Church Council and commissioned in a Cathedral service.

For further information about selection and training for each of these please contact:

Caroline Harding - Lay Development Adviser        

Diocesan Office

53 New Street, Chelmsford CM1 1AT

Tel: 01245 294449

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

Licensed Lay Ministry

 Licensed Lay Ministers:

  • Are Lay
  • Hold the Bishop’s Licence
  • Are trained to national standards and their licence is recognised across the Anglican communion
  • 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. LLMs are providing training and resources across the diocese, encouraging and enabling the ministry of all God's people. They are licensed to a local church, but often teach and mentor lay people in groups of parishes.

Find out more about Licensed Lay Ministry

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


Evangelism Certificate, Evangelism Enablers and Time to Share

The Certificate is open to all with no prerequisites, a course of 12 sessions working in small groups which help you develop your personal evangelism skills and support others in sharing their faith. On completion you are awarded the Certificate of Evangelism. You will find out about the Biblical basis for evangelsim and how Jesus did it, how to share your faith story and how to make use of nurture courses and evangelistic events. 

The Evangelism Enablers course builds on this foundation and will show you how to encourage others to share their faith, support the work of the church in mission and evangelism and be a  team player working with groups in mission. There will be experience of mission at another church or agency and a project in your own church, supported by group sessions and projects.

Find out more about Evangelism Enablers

Time to Share

Time To Share is a free course to enable Christians to share their faith with confidence and to work effectively as part of a team. The course addresses particular challenges and opportunities of working in a multicultural community.

The course is for:

Christians who want to increase their skills
- in sharing their faith
- in working as a part of a team
- in adjusting to a multicultural area

Christians from Anglican churches in Newham Deanery
- plus, some places for members of other denominations
- plus, some places for Anglicans from other deaneries

All participants must be recommended by their Vicar or church minister

Find out more about Time to Share from Hillary Henry: 

Children, Family and Youth Ministry

If you are involved in children, family or youth ministry whether paid or voluntary and you need some advice, support or training then please contact The Mustard Seed Team who will be more than happy to help you to find the right training for you. This might be some one-to-one mentoring or working with you to find training suitable for your needs.

More information about training can be found here: This includes details about the authorisation process and our diocesan manna course This is a modular approach to training which aims to support you as you grow and develop in your ministry with young people.

Sign up to our regular newsletter here:


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

Authorised Local Preacher

Authorised Local Preachers are people whose own church has decided to invite to preach. The incumbent and PCC asks the Area Bishop for official recognition of this and if permission is given that person may preach in that place from then on. Within three years of this authorisation the preachers must complete the Course in Christian Studies and attend our workshops delivered by the College of Preachers.

Find out more about Authorised Local Preachers

A spiritual companion/director is a ‘life servant’ (not a life fixer!) to a fellow disciple helping them to notice and name where God is moving in their life and to discern the way forward. The Biblical model for spiritual companionship is the story of the Emmaus Road. Chelmsford Diocese offers two ways of becoming a spiritual companion. The 18 month Course held at Pleshey meets one day per month with 3 residentials. The module course has a number of 6 session modules held either early evening or on Saturdays. There are 3 core modules and others can be added to make a full course or can be stand alone as CPD.

Find out more about Spiritual Companions

For more information please contact Caroline Harding
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