(*This Article was published by the Diocese of Monmouth’s Midweek Mailing Newsletter.)

A team of lay worship leaders and pastoral assistants were commissioned in a special service held at St Cadoc’s Church in Raglan. The group have completed the relevant training courses and are made up of those who have been involved in these ministries for some time and others who are new to this. The service was arranged and led by those who were commissioned.

In the address Archdeacon Ian reflected on lay ministry, saying, ‘Whatever our call may be, as Christians we all have a calling – as you celebrate today those who have been commissioned, as you pray for their ministry going forward, pray and think also about whether God is inviting you to something different, something new…’

It was wonderful to see a full church coming together to celebrate God’s gifts, and look forward to the gifts of those who were commissioned being used widely throughout the ministry area

Here are some thoughts from those that have recently completed the training courses.

Sarah Byford: ‘I found both the Worship leaders’ and Pastoral Visitors’ courses very beneficial. Having been a pastoral visitor for a number of years, and having led Morning Prayer in my local church during the past two years, I found that the pre-reading and the sessions on both courses gave me a deeper insight into these two areas of ministry to which I feel called.

One area of the Pastoral Visitors’ course which involved practical interaction – that of listening- I found particularly helpful. I discovered that I am, perhaps, not as good a listener as I thought I was, and this is an important skill I need to develop further.

The Worship Leaders’ course confirmed that there is so much more to leading worship than simply delivering a set traditional liturgy – and that introducing variety of services, with different styles and content is something I can do in the future, whist always ensuring a happy congregation who will come back for more, and bring their friends!’

Clare Bradley: ‘Having been licensed as a Lay Eucharistic Minister on St David’s Day 2010 and having done various other days training on Intercessions and Reading the Lesson, much of this course was familiar territory – although it never hurts to do a refresher. Being in front of a congregation and leading a service is something I am mostly comfortable with.

The part that I did enjoy and feel that I really got something out of was the idea that we are encouraged to adapt services, or even write our own for particular occasions. This authority to try to make our services especially relevant to our congregations and celebrations is really liberating and I look forward to trying to make use of it in the future.’

Deidre Seabourne: ‘Although I have been leading services for the past two years, I had never attended or indeed received any formal training until this recent course was offered.  

Therefore, it was helpful to know that I was leading in the way I should be and offering suggestions as to how I could improve things moving forward. It was also very helpful to meet with the other lay ministers to share concerns and indeed learn new or different ways of leading services.

I particularly like the weeks of Session 4 (Learning about Worship as a Mission) and Session 5 (Creating New Services) as I realised that you could change and/or adapt services and not just stick to the old ways.’



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