There are many different ministries people offer and Oxford Diocese wants to encourage all kinds of lay ministry, giving as much freedom as possible to the local church. As such, formal authorisation from the bishop is usually given only when this is required by the Church’s canon law. There are currently three areas of ministry in Oxford diocese which require a bishop’s formal authorisation (not to be confused with a bishop’s licence, which is what allows LLMs (Readers) and clergy to minister within the diocese).
- Preaching (this includes responsibility for any talk or activity fulfilling the function of the sermon in a Service of the Word)
- Leading services of public worship with Communion by Extension (clarification on what constitutes communion by extension and who may conduct these services is given here)
- Lay funeral ministry (a growing area of ministry with significant pastoral responsibility).
The bishop’s authorisation gives you permission to exercise the relevant ministry within your parish or benefice, but it is up to your incumbent / ministry team when you are asked to do so. The incumbent / ministry team is also responsible for supporting you in your ministry.
To receive a bishop’s Authorisation, you need the backing of your incumbent and also your PCC (or PCCs where apppropriate), usually expressed through a formal PCC resolution. The incumbent writes to your area bishop, advising them of this support, also including (i) details of your current DBS Disclosure and (ii) evidence of required Safeguarding training (you will need to complete the new Leadership safeguarding module, which has replaced ‘C3’). The area bishop would then issue an intial letter of authorisation, often without needing to make any further enquiries. This initial authorisation effectively allows you to begin ministering during an initial period of up to two years and will stipulate the basic training you will be expected to undergo during this time. On completion of all relevant training requirements, and so long as your DBS and safeguarding training have not expired, you will then be able to apply for your initial authorisation to be renewed to a ‘full’ authorisation, which is normally renewable for up to five years at a time (or to the expiry of your current DBS Disclosure, if sooner).
Introductory leaflets for those interested (or those whom you think might be interested) in training for these ministries can be downloaded here:
- Authorised Preaching (Introductory leaflet – Jan 2020)
- Authorised Leading of Services of Communion by Extension (Introductory leaflet – Jan 2020)
- Authorised Lay Funeral Ministry (Introductory leaflet – Jan 2020)
Authorised Ministry Handbook
This handbook gives a full description of the Authorised Ministries scheme, including detailed explanation of training requirements, assignment titles and suggested reading
The formal policy documents underpinning this scheme are here:
Please note that any work which learners wish to be assessed for formal academic awards will need to use the Harvard (Anglia Ruskin) referencing system.
For more information, please contact Revd Dr Phil Cooke (01865) 208282.