By Katherine Garner
I have been training as a Licensed Lay Minister for two years now having just entered my third year at St Mellitus College. When I say training it’s probably more accurate to describe it as 3 years of theological study with practical training exercises thrown in! Studying Theology is hard – there is a whole new vocabulary to learn before you even start on Old and New Testaments, Christian History, Doctrine and Ethics and that’s aside to the practical stuff like Preaching, Evangelism and Pastoral work, as well as the legally required stuff like Safeguarding. Boy, is it an eye opener! But as well as being intellectually challenging at times, it has been such a rewarding experience for me.
I have loved the way it has deepened my faith by deepening my knowledge and understanding of its origins. I have loved the in-depth studies of Old and New Testaments and how these 66 books brought together tell the story of God’s plan for salvation from the very beginning. I have loved getting really involved in Doctrine, in particular the Doctrine of the Trinity, and seeing how Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit weave their way though all the bible’s pages, and I have loved wrestling with the difficult ethical issues presented by faith and considering how Christ speaks into those situations.
Along the way I have met some wonderful people also training as LLMs in different parts of the Diocese, but also fabulous people training as priests since we trained for 2 years alongside the Ordinands and this has proved to be so fruitful.
For this Autumn term of 2022 we are required to do 100 hours placement in an alternative setting to our own Parish, and I will be doing my placement within the various churches of Ongar Mission and Ministry Unit. These include neighbouring churches such as St Laurence Blackmore, and St Christophers, Willingale, as well as others, so don’t be surprised if you see me around!
Most of all I would like to encourage other lay people to consider their ministry. So many regularly take part in church services, not just leading and preaching but playing music, offering intercessions, doing children’s work, flower arranging, making tea and coffee etc. These are all ministries of great value. Where is God calling you in your ministry? Is He calling you to study? Not everyone wants to be a Licensed Lay Minister, but if you feel you would enjoy further study then why not consider the Course in Christian Studies? But if God is calling you to Licensed Ministry I can certainly recommend my path.