Lay Ministry at St Helen's
Over many years St Helen's has been pleased to support members called to various forms of lay ministry. Within the Church of England the highest level is that of Reader or Licensed Lay Minister (LLM). A Reader is licenced by the Bishop, normally to serve in a particular parish under the supervision of the incumbent or priest-in-charge. A Reader may lead worship services and preach the word, assist at a service of Holy Communion, be involved in pastoral work and other forms of community ministry and, subject to further specific training, undertake bereavement ministry and lead funeral services. A Reader does not wear a "dog collar" that is the mark of an ordained minister, but may wear clerical robes when participating in church services, including the distinctive blue scarf that is the mark of the order.
A Reader desiganate is subject to a selection process at both parish and diocesan level, and then undergoes accredited and assessed part-time training covering the theological, pastoral and practical aspects of the role. The training is normally of three years duration, after which the candidate is both admitted to the order of Readers and licensed to a parish by the bishop in what is normally an annual Readers' Sevice in the cathedral.
In the past 30 years St Helen's has benefitted from the Reader ministry of Ernie Hill, David Lester, Robert Murray, Celia Tew, Dorothy Carter, Norman Ramsden, Ray Tew, Kathryn Shaw and Rosemary Woodward. Of these, Ernie Hill, David Lester and Robert Murray were subsequently ordained and became priests, whilst the last three named together with Celia Tew form the current group of four readers within the parish. Note that Readers are licensed to a parish as a whole and not to a specific church.
The following photographs are from the licensing services of some of the readers in the parish:
** Photographs to be added **
Below the level of Reader, each diocese may designate other levels of lay ministry as it considers appropriate. In Southwell and Nottingham there is a role that is designated as Recognised Lay Minister (RLM), which is available to candidates who successfully complete a diocesan accredited training programme, normally of two years duration. In their final year, each candidate undergoes training in a speciality area of ministry according to their calling, such as Worship Leading, Childrens' Work or Pastoral Care. The programme in Southwell and Nottingham was origianlly designated the "Bishop's Certificate" course.
The parish of Selston with Westwood currently benefits from the ministry of three Recognised Lay Ministers, Dag Isaksen, Mike Shouler and Joan Beckett.