New lay ministers encouraged to be "lifelong learners" of Christian faith amid "challenging times"

Bishop John Inge and the Rev Canon Doug Chaplin with the 40 new ALMs

Forty men and women have been authorised as new lay ministers at a special service in Worcester Cathedral.

Authorised lay ministers train over the course of a year to carry out specific roles within parishes, with this year's ALMs taking up positions relating to worship, pastoral work, children's and youth work, and administration. 

During the celebration, they received a certificate from the Bishop of Worcester John Inge to mark the completion of their courses. 

The new ALMs will now work alongside ordained clergy and licensed lay ministry in their individual parishes. 

During the service, the Rev Canon Doug Chaplin, Lay Development and Discipleship Officer, encouraged the lay ministers to be "lifelong learners" of the Christian faith. 

"We are ministering in interesting and challenging times," he said.

Each new ALM received a certificate during the service

"To be ministers of Christ we first need to become disciples of Christ; we are all called to be lifelong learners of how to live our lives in Jesus' image.

"We also need each other's gifts, ministry and service – ministry in the New Testament is always shared and only together can we be the body of Christ.

"And finally, to be ministers we need wisdom, which comes through regular study and reading of the scriptures. To love and seek wisdom is to love and seek Jesus."

Claire Charley from St Mary, Pickersleigh, Eve Canbray from the Four Rivers Churches and Jane Bowen from St Peter's Church in Droitwich all completed the course to become pastoral workers.

They said: "We really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot from each other. It was a close supportive group and we've committed to praying for each other as well as continuing to meet.

"It was a comprehensive course which will be very useful in our parishes."