Ordained Local Ministry
Ordained Local Ministry developed in the diocese as part of the national movement of OLM, which saw that 'Traditional' ministry patterns alone were not enough to enable the church to meet its responsibilities and to be more truly an indigenous church.
The Process for Recommendation
An Incumbent who wishes to pursue the possibility of having an Ordained Local Minister in his/her parish should first approach the Bishop of Dorking, who informs the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) of the parish's interest. The Bishop will, where appropriate, ask for a review of the parish's suitability for this form of ministry. The reviewer will bear in mind the following criteria:
- evidence of collaborative ministry, teamwork or shared leadership in the parish(es)
- some idea about the role and ministerial task within the locality for an OLM
- flexibility of approach to different ways of problem solving, patterns of worship, ministry and organisation
- evidence that the possibility of OLM has arisen as part of a process of discussion within the parish(es) as a whole
- the actual or potential capacity of the Incumbent as a trainer
A parish will not normally be allowed to proceed at this point if it is known that the Incumbent is about to move or retire. The DDO visits the Incumbent and begins a two-fold process: on the one hand discussing the nature of OLM and its relevance to the particular situation, and on the other, beginning to form impressions of the parish context in which the proposed OLM will operate.
An official Diocesan Parish Review follows, which seeks to evaluate the following: the current ministry team and nature of collaborative ministry already operating, the parish's ownership of the possibility of having an OLM and the level of awareness of the role and task envisaged for an OLM within the parish. The reviewer reports to the Bishop (copies to the Incumbent and DDO). Based on this, the Bishop gives permission (or not) to the DDO and the parish to proceed.
If the Parish Review is positive, the DDO meets the candidate (if he has not done so already) and begins or continues the process of discernment of the individual's suitability and sense of vocation in relation to the context for which s/he is being recommended for training. If the DDO is satisfied, then formal PCC backing is sought, and the candidate is sponsored for a Bishops' Advisory Panel.
If an individual is not recommended for training, the parish's suitability for participation in the Ordained Local Ministry Scheme is not called into question, and it may be appropriate to begin a discernment process which will identify other potential OLM candidates. The parish and individual processes may happen consequently or simultaneously.
Crossing from one form of authorised ministry to another: because of the desire to ensure a clear sense of vocation, no LLM (Reader) will be considered for Ordained Ministry until s/he has completed at least two years as an LLM (Reader). Candidates and their parishes need to be clear that it will be necessary for the Ordinand to be freed from most parochial responsibilities during the period of training. Parishes are responsible for paying a contribution towards the cost of training, which is currently about £980 per annum.
Candidates who successfully complete training will be ordained alongside other candidates for ministry. The exercise of Ordained Local Ministry is restricted by Licence to one particular locality, and permission must be sought from the Archdeacon to minister outside that area. If an ordained Local Minister, for whatever reason, moves parish or diocese, s/he shall not have an automatic right to minister there. Rather, there must be a period of establishment in the new congregation, followed by a further discernment process. Those ordained as OLMs are as much a part of the ordained ministry of the whole church as any other deacon or priest. However, because Ordained Local Ministry is, in its very essence, locally called and locally owned, it is exercised only in the parish or benefice group of parishes which sponsored the OLM in the first place.
Where significant collaborative ministry is developing between parishes, it may be appropriate for an OLM's licence to be widened, but this is unlikely to happen during the title post period. If, for some exceptional reason, an OLM is asked to minister out the area of his/her local licence, the permission of both the Incumbent and the Archdeacon must be obtained. OLMs have full access to the same services as other clergy and will participate in the IME4-7 and the Assessing End of Curacy in their 'title post' period.
OLM Ministry and Vacancies in the Parish
When there is no Incumbent in a parish which is, or wishes to be, part of the Diocesan Ordained Local Ministry Scheme, the following shall apply:
- Neither the parish or an individual can be put forward for approval/selection until there is a new Incumbent
- An OLM will only be ordained during a vacancy where it is possible to provide oversight from a neighbouring Incumbent
- If there is an OLM in the parish who is in his/her first four years or ordained ministry, the Rural Dean/a local Incumbent shall be appointed as acting Training Incumbent
- Responsibility for the continued life and ministry of a parish during a vacancy lies with the Churchwardens and the Rural Dean, though licensed ministers in the benefice should be part of the 'management team'
- The Statement of Needs, and the appointment process, shall make clear that the parish is part of the Diocesan OLM Scheme, and that commitment to shared ministry is a requirement of the new Incumbent
- Once a new Incumbent has been inducted, a Consultant may be appointed by the Director of Ministerial Training to monitor the transition, considering what difficulties are being encountered, and how team-working and collaborative ministry are being carried forward and developed.