Celebration of Lay Ministry Day sees 11 new Lay Ministers licensed

The 2019 Celebration of Lay Ministry Day took place at Peterborough Cathedral on Saturday (28th September).

The annual event saw 100 Lay Ministers from across the Diocese come together for worship, teaching and workshops. It culminated in the Licensing of Lay Ministers service, which saw 11 people newly licensed as Lay Ministers. They were (parishes in brackets):

  • Christopher Butts (Finedon)
  • Sine Cookman (St Giles, Northampton)
  • Malcolm Forsyth (Moulton)
  • Wendy Forsyth (Moulton)
  • Lesley Gossage (St Alban the Martyr, Northampton)
  • Genista Hart (Earls Barton)
  • Caroline Hawkins (Oundle with Ashton and Benefield with Glapthorn)
  • Timothy Jeffery (Desborough; Brampton Ash; Dingley and Braybrooke)
  • Neil Menon (Moulton)
  • Wendy Steel (Desborough; Brampton Ash; Dingley and Braybrooke)
  • Elizabeth Taylor (Yardley Hastings, Denton and Grendon with Castle Ashby and Whiston)
Our 11 newly licensed Lay Ministers.

The day began with a welcome from Bishop Donald to the two newly appointed Wardens of Lay Ministry – John Hall (for Oakham – north of the Diocese) and Ben Lewis (for Northampton – south of the Diocese). The Bishop then delivered a powerful talk, based on that day’s Lectionary reading of Zechariah 9:9–17. The background to the reading is that God’s people are under attack from oppression and warfare. Bishop Donald compared that to the fate facing the Church today. “It’s hard being a Christian these days – these are hard times for the Church. The Church used to have an untarnished reputation, but it’s hard to convince people that clergy can be respected. It has to be won nowadays with hard graft. Services might be better but doing the ministry is harder – that’s the world we’re in.”

But Bishop Donald used the hope expressed within the passage as an encouragement to the listening Lay Ministers. “We’re to remember that our King is on the throne – he marches forth in victory. We can leave the house every morning with a spring in our step.”

“Sometimes we can feel that the glory has departed because the outside world does not get it. But we have hope. We have a King who loves us. He comes utterly triumphant in quiet, sitting-beside-you love. Share this with people and receive it yourself.”

Bishop Donald addresses the congregation.

This theme was continued with Bishop Donald’s sermon at the Licensing of Lay Ministers service, based on the readings of 2 Kings 6:8–17 (Elisha being protected from the armies of the King of Aram) and Matthew 18:1–6,10 (Jesus telling the disciples to become more like children). “The Lord is victorious, not defeated. This is big-scale stuff – you and all the armies of God are ministering Jesus. But the Matthew reading stops us being big-headed. God’s victory is humble and gentle.”

“We need to be like a child. Our ministry is to show people that the way of Jesus is straightforward and easy – his burden is light.”

As well as the teaching from the front, a choice of workshops were also available for delegates to choose from:

  • Bereavement support (led by Linnet Smith)
  • Connecting Christians and Muslims (Adrian Holdstock)
  • Mental health support (Philip Evans)
  • Mind the gap – how to bridge the gap between church and community (Ali Middleton)
  • Ministry on new housing estates (Catherine Lomas)
  • Weaving the golden thread – including children and young people in your ministry (Pete White and Becky Wills)
  • Work in prisons (Jackie Wiegman)


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