The diocese encourages and equips local churches to provide ministerial opportunities for lay people locally. This nurtures individuals, grows ministries and in the process enables parishes and benefices join in discernment and recognise a plan for mission and who might resource this.
Receive formal training before being commissioned to undertake pastoral care. The nature of this ministry is shaped by the local context and the gifts of the individual, it might include visiting, preparation for baptism and weddings, working with families.
Pastoral Assistants are able to relate with sensitivity to people at various stages in life, with varying degrees of Christian commitment and with those who are searching. They are aware of the practical limitations of their role and skills, and can work with others involved in parish ministry.
Receive formal training before gaining permission to lead Services of the Word and all-age worship, usually where they worship on a regular basis. They become part of the ministry team, are enablers of ministry and can offer a Sunday service where otherwise there may not be one. Whilst they are not permitted to preach they are able to offer an alternative. Unlike Readers, they do not take funerals or take services of Public Worship with Communion by Extension.
We have produced a downloadable guide which gives both theological background and practical advice for those leading intercessions in regular Sunday worship of various kinds. It is helpful for those beginning to lead intercessions for the first time and is a good refresher for those who have been leading intercessions for many years. It includes many tips including prayers at a service with children present and for different seasons of the church year.
It is ideal for parishes, benefices or deaneries to do together, although it could also be used by individuals. There is an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, ideal for group learning.
The diocesan scheme Accord provides training and encouragement in the skills needed to share the pastoral care work of a parish or benefice. The focus of courses is practical rather than theological, building on the gifts and skills people already have. Training is delivered locally by two trainers. Sessions are usually two hours with some courses requiring more than one session.