Some 170 people took part in Re-envisioning Ministry Day – an online forum for Readers and Licensed Lay Ministers which focussed on how best to serve our communities as we emerge from the pandemic.
This year sees the quinquennial renewal of licences for all Readers and Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) and in his keynote speech, Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines talked about fresh challenges.
“Transformation is not an option, it’s a necessity and the last year has forced change and the need for adaptability upon us,” Bishop Nick said.
“When you’re driving out of a bend, you need to accelerate and we need to be accelerating and asking how we can be a church for the changed world.”
Referring to how LLMs and Readers were teachers of the faith, leaders in church and society and enablers of mission he said:
“How do we bring church and society together?
“I’d say, be yourself, as the gift God has given to all of us, and with that, what is the unique gift God has given to you that you bring to our pulpits and communities?
“It’s exciting – there will be lots to do!”
Warden of Readers and Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, Ven Jonathan Gough shared that mood in his opening welcome.
“This is a very timely day to think about particular themes and see how the next phases will progress in our parishes, churches and the diocese.”
Director of ministry and Mission Andrew Norman gave a presentation on the work, training opportunities and importance of LLMs/Readers and the enthusiasm for more engagement with clergy in serving our the needs of our worshippers in church, at work and in communities.
And he also urged anyone interested answering a call to serve to “have a go” and look at the wealth of resources available on the Diocese of Leeds Digital Learning Platform.
The Saturday event was organised by the five Area Wardens for Readers and featured videos from across the diocese and break-out rooms for discussions.
Notable quotes from the morning included:
"Being a Licensed Lay Minister is great fun. Let's use the gifts we have in God's service," said David Kibble.
"I love it when I can help people with issues of scripture or faith," said Andy Mattacks.
“Excite, Empower, Equip, Engage. God calls all of us into his mission," said Bev Payle.
Summing up the successful webinar, Archdeacon Jonathan said there had been: "Impressive and encouraging input on how the setting for our ministry is society and the whole of God's creation - that's where we're called to be."
Area Warden for the Huddersfield EA Ian Grange said the day marked an important new step for lay ministry: “This will be the start of a journey together and it is intended to follow it up with Area meetings during the summer.”