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

Bishop Stephen writes:

I have always believed that God gives to the local church all the gifts that are needed for the church’s ministry to grow and flourish. Sometimes these gifts are unrecognised. Sometimes they lie dormant. Sometimes they do not receive the encouragement and nurture they need. And sometimes it is matter of the wider church giving the necessary permission and authorisation.

Most congregations will have people – even if it is only one or two - with a gift and calling to preach.

In the past it was either a matter of going behind the back of the formal systems for recognising such a ministry, or training as a Reader. With this scheme for Authorised Lay Preachers the situation changes. Every parish in the diocese will now be better able to develop its ministry team and include within it men and women who can share in the preaching ministry under the leadership and oversight of the Incumbent and PCC and with proper authorisation from their Area Bishop.

I am delighted to be able to support this initiative, and I encourage all churches to think and pray about who might be called to this ministry. There may be some great gifts lying dormant and unrecognised in your congregation. With encouragement, authorisation and training their voices could enrich the preaching ministry of your church.

The ministry of preaching

The ministry of preaching in the parish is primarily the responsibility of clergy and Readers. As the church grows and responds to the needs of mission and ministry, more and more people have become involved in the ministry of preaching, with the support of their clergy and congregations. In the light of this welcome development the Bishops are seeking to respond in a way that is flexible and sensitive to local situations, while affirming that this important ministry should be exercised in good order and with appropriate training. The ministry of Authorised Local Preacher is part of that response.

The Authorised Local Preacher

Preaching has always been at the heart of the life of the church and a focus for its mission and ministry. The Bishops wish to be linked with those who share in the ministry of preaching and to offer encouragement and support by giving their authorisation for this ministry. The ministry of authorised local preacher is exercised under the responsibility of the incumbent who, with the congregation, will have discerned the appropriat

For more information please contact Liz Watson
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