St Mary’s Church, Walton-on-Thames, hosted the annual licensing service of seven new Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) on Saturday 24 June, with Bishop Jo presiding for the first time.
A congregation of over 250, including around 20 serving LLMs were present to welcome and support the seven new arrivals and another 12 LLMs who were receiving their renewed 5-year licenses – that’s a lot of LLMs and a lot of licenses!
The new LLMs included local husband and wife team John and Tessa Badcock from St John’s in Walton-on-Thames; Clare Haddad, St John the Baptist, Busbridge; Penny Holt, St Peter’s, Newdigate; Susie Millard, St Luke’s Grayshott; Helen Roche, St John the Evangelist, Milford and Dawn Winslow, St Mary’s, Long Ditton.
“It was a pleasure to see our new LLMs being licensed to their parishes by the Bishop,” said the Revd Dr Steve Summers, principal of the Local Ministry Programme, which includes LLM training. “It is such an important message that is proclaimed at this service. We celebrate lay people who are theologically educated and trained, to preach and lead worship for the church community; but also to share their faith outside the church walls, in the workplace and beyond.”
Bring what you have
The Revd Canon Mavis Wilson preached the sermon on the story of Jesus cooking breakfast on the beach after his resurrection. The disciples had just caught a large number of fish by following Jesus’ instructions, and Jesus then asked them to bring some of the fish that they had caught. Mavis reminded everyone that Jesus calls people to bring what they have, what they are, their circumstances – to bring them to God for him to use in his service. An apt reminder to all LLMs as they provide valuable help to busy parish priests by preaching, teaching, leading worship, giving pastoral advice and much more, often beyond the traditional boundaries of church.
“There was a great sense of joy and celebration at the service,” added Warden of LLMs Gertrud Sollars, who plays a key role in the development of new LLMS. “It was a first, not just for the new LLMs but also for Bishop Jo who led the licensing. My prayer is that our new LLMs will keep that sense of joy and being called over many years of ministry.”
There are around 150 LLMs in 80 parishes in Guildford diocese - although about 60 parishes have no LLM support at all. To become an LLM takes commitment and three years training, but there is lots of help on offer. Find out more on the diocesan website www.cofeguildford.org.uk/llm or contact Gertrud by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01483 415182.