Worcester Cathedral's new Authorised Lay Ministers

Over 70 people from Worcestershire and Dudley were authorised during a special service in Worcester Cathedral on Sunday.

They were commissioned as Authorised Lay Ministers (ALMs) by Bishop John Inge and will serve as part of the ministry teams in their parishes, supporting their vicars and lay readers.

The commissioning service came at the end of a year-long course taken by the ALMs enabling them to serve as volunteer pastoral workers in their parishes.

They will help lead acts of worship, share their faith with others, support children's and youth work, or act as parish administrators.

Michael Holt from Dudley Wood was authorised as an evangelist. He said: "It was great to meet like-minded people and learn new ways to get Jesus out into the community. I'm now planning to work with our new vicar on different initiatives such as Café Church and Street Pastors."

Charlie Binney from the parishes of Bengeworth, Hampton with Sedgeberrow and Hinton-on-the-Green was also authorised as a Children's and Youth Worker.

She said: "I've been working with children and young people from our four parishes for almost five years and I feel that the ALM course has validated this work. I have come away with lots of new ideas and it also made me think more carefully about the safety and risk assessment side of youth work, which is very important."

The number of ordained clergy in the Diocese of Worcester has declined but there are now over 300 ALMs.

The ALM course is in its third year and this year, two new courses in community development and music ministry are also being offered.

Bishop Inge said: "It's wonderful to see so many people offering themselves for this kind of ministry in the Diocese of Worcester.

"There is a huge range of gifts among our church congregations and I'm delighted that we can offer training to enable people to use these gifts in the service of others and of God.

"It's good news for the churches of our diocese and for communities they serve."