Congratulations to our new Licensed Lay Ministers


Lindsey Baker, Margaret Davison, Janet Keene and Rosalind Steel are our new Licensed Lay Ministers.

Our new Licensed Lay Ministers are celebrating today (Saturday 5 November 2016) after their licensing service at Christ Church Cathedral. Read a short biography of each of them.

Margaret Davison (St Peter’s, Woolhampton):

“I was brought up in a Christian family, attending the village church and Sunday school most Sundays, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I realised the power of prayer and the real presence of God. I’m looking forward to continuing my ministry as a Licensed Lay Minister.”

Ros Steel (Christ Church, Abingdon):

“I became a Christian in my teens, and have always had a sense of God’s call upon my life. At different stages this has led me in various directions, from teaching and music to, more latterly, counselling and spiritual direction. This call to Licensed Lay Ministry feels like both an affirmation of the work I am already doing, and permission to step more fully into the role of a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a joy and a challenge.”

Lyndsay Baker (Carterton):

“I was shocked when I felt Jesus was urging me to step forward for lay ministry. Fortunately, my husband, two children and Carterton church family are very supportive. And, when I have trusted and obeyed Jesus he has proven what a faithful and awesome God he is.”

Charles Howlett (St Mary the Virgin, Amersham):

“I moved to Amersham in 1983 to work at Chilterns Crematorium, where I’ve been ever since. I married a local funeral director’s daughter, Annie, and we have two children and a grandson. I soon started singing in the local church choir and gradually got more involved and found God blessing me with the gift of faith.”

Janet Keene (SS Michael & Mary Magdalene, Easthampstead):

Janet is married and has three children and a granddaughter. When Church @ the Pines started up as a Local Ecumenical Partnership church plant from St Michael’s and the Methodist circuit in Bracknell, Janet and her daughter went to the first service. She was confirmed there, and continued to worship there. She works full time as an official for the National Association of Head Teachers.

Bishop Victoria from New Zealand comes to LLM conference

The Rt Revd Victoria Matthews first visited the Diocese of Oxford in 2014 where she spoke at our clergy conference. She’s back in June 2016 to inspire our Licensed Lay Ministers at their annual conference. Hear what she has to say.


Click here to hear Bishop Victoria’s message to ordained women, recorded at our clergy conference in 2014.

New Lay Ministers licensed in a special service

Here are our new Lay Ministers after their licensing at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, November 7. From the back left are Peter Flory, Estelle Fourie , Roy Tarbox, the Revd Dr Phillip Tovey, Deputy Warden for LLMs. Next row, from left are Ian Fordyce, Karen Goff and Margaret Ibison, front row Tish Bird, Pam Davey, Bishop Andrew and Ian Smith.

Photo: Jo Duckles.LLMuse

A meeting of Lay Ministers

Milton House Hotel

Milton House Hotel


MORE than 120 Licensed Lay Ministers flocked to the idyllic Milton Hill House in South Oxfordshire for their annual conference this year.

The event gave LLMs the chance to relax at the countryside hotel while meeting up, comparing notes and enjoying speakers and workshops aimed at helping them in their ministry.  Susan Small, from Worminghall, said: “It’s been very helpful. It just gives you a chance that you don’t have when you are working in the parishes to talk to others and to reflect and learn. It’s about working together really. It’s about how we as a Church, as a community of Christ’s followers can work together to meet the needs of our congregations.”

Sara Bedwell, a family law solicitor, will be licensed as an LLM on 1st November. She has opted for lay ministry because she says she enjoys being part of the laity and acting as a bridge between the Church and the world. She went along to the conference. She says: “My work means I have complementary pastoral skills that are needed in both places. People’s family difficulties are part of my day-to-day work,” says Sara, who will be an LLM at St Andrew’s, Linton Road, Oxford.

Bill Birmingham first became a Lay Reader, as they are known in other dioceses, in 1980. Bill was involved in a church in Beijing for just over five years and had links with the Chinese Three Self Church. “I still have links with the Chinese Church,” says Bill, who is involved with a three day event that takes place in August, for the over 60s, at his church. “Clearly there is a need to do things for young people and families, but we feel the need to do things for older people so we have three days of activities for people who can’t go away. We have painting, embroidery, jigsaws, a meal and a trip to Stoke Poges gardens. Last year we went to Eton College. We try and bring in older people who have no connection with the Church.”

Bill was enjoying the conference. “It’s been very good. The sessions have been good for unveiling new thoughts and ideas looking at the prologue to St John’s Gospel.”
Jeremy Hopkinson, from the Mursley Deanery, said the event had been ‘inspiring’. He said: “It was very thought provoking. I came to the conclusion that I needed to have a word with the Bishop before I left, so I have spoken to him, and to Archdeacon Karen. It is always good to listen to advice and it was really encouraging.”

Margaret Fisher, from the Hermitage Team, said: “I do a lot of mission with children and toddlers and it is nice to step away from that to reflect. The talk on St John’s Gospel was excellent.”
Edna Strange, from St Lawrence, Warborough, said: “I have been to a brilliant session on children’s spirituality. There were parts of it that were really really helpful because I’m going to do assemblies and that is where spirituality comes out in schools.”

Wendy Willoughby Paul said she had most enjoyed Duncan Strappy talking abut preaching from the right brain and the left brain. She said: “I thought it was excellent.”
Robin Rowles will have been an LLM for 18 years on November and was enjoying the surroundings at Milton Hill House. He said: “Personally I have found the worship revitalising and I found Bishop John’s keynote speech brought a unique, revitalising view.”

Kevin Lovell is an LLM and one of the Area Advisers for LLM Ministry, who provide pastoral support for lay ministers. “If they have questions or difficulties they can ring us to ask for advice.” Kevin’s role also involves Ministerial Development Reviews for LLMs, which take place every two years.

“We also help people through the vocations process. If a vocations adviser thinks someone may have a vocation to lay ministry the next step for selection would be to come and speak to an area adviser and you take them through that process. We also support the transfer of LLMs in and out of the Diocese. We licence LLMs as a Bishop’s representative. It’s a scaled down version of the clergy licensing process. There are a lot of similarities. Kevin described how LLMs are a bridge between clergy and lay people, carrying out core teaching and preaching work, taking funerals and doing pastoral duties.

“A lot of LLMs do children’s and youth work. I have done prison ministry when we had a prison in Reading and I’ve been involved in other sorts of fresh expressions. Quite a few of us are working, so we may have a workplace ministry.”

LLMs are a range of ages, with at least one in the Diocese of Oxford still active at 90. “They bring all sorts of skills, health care, industry, hospice workers, scientists, managers and solicitors. It is much like ordained ministry. Some of them are people who have had a career before being licensed, a lot of lay ministers are carrying on with their careers. We are licensing about 15 every year and there is a steady flow of people every year we are having conversations with who are being called to do something,” says Kevin.

Licensing Lay Ministers

MORE than 500 people flocked to Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford to watch the licensing of 12 new Lay Ministers to serve in the Diocese of Oxford last month. Here the Door introduces our new LLMs who have been licensed to serve alongside clergy in a wide variety of different parishes.

Our new LLMs are pictured

Our new LLMs are pictured

Beryl Packer, who is licensed to serve in Uffington, Shellingford, Woolstone and Baulking,  says:  “I was born in the rural area where I hope to serve as an LLM.  I am single, have had careers elsewhere in secretarial and social work and am now retired and a lay minister of our local Ministry Team. I pray through God’s grace and strength to serve Him and people here and wherever He directs.”
Diana Matthews  is licensed to serve at St Mark’s and All Saints, Reading. She said : “After a long career in education, I have come to Lay Ministry rather late. In my home parish of St Mark and All Saints Reading, I enjoy the opportunity  to assist with the worship in our five care homes and five schools and to do some teaching and preaching.”
Barry Marsden, of St Peter’s Burnham, said: “I am 67 and married with one adult son and one grandson. My faith journey includes eight years as a member of The Society of St Francis. I worship at St Peter’s, Burnham where, as well as facilitating our weekly Meditation Group and taking an active part in services, I am PCC Secretary and, together with my wife, Christian Aid Organiser.”
David Blackmore, of Weston Turville, says: “‘I am a 54 year old film editor, I am married with four children ranging in age from 13 to 24 and I live in Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire. I’ve found the three years training for LLM inspiring and challenging and I look forward to putting it into action in ministry.”
Joan Walding, of Headington Quarry, says: “I was born in Salisbury, grew up and went to school in south east London, trained in Exmouth to teach English, Drama and Religious Education in secondary schools.  I moved to Northampton when I married and was given a job before I arrived purely on the strength of being engaged to a well-known and excellent teacher! We had two daughters and lived and worked in Northampton for almost 40 years. My husband died in 2003 and three years later I joined my daughters and four grandchildren in Headington Quarry.  We all worship together and I am well aware of how amazing that is and how blessed I am.”
Lynne Thorogood from Old Windsor, says:  “I have lived in my parish for over 20 years, and have been involved in the work of the church in a variety of roles including the choir, the PCC and as assistant verger.  I have worked in education for the whole of my professional life, as a teacher, head teacher and in teacher training as a university lecturer.  I am now also a school inspector, working for Ofsted and for SIAMS, the organisation that inspects Church of England schools.  With my new LLM role added to this, I’m going to be quite busy.”
John Hamilton, from Nash in North Buckinghamshire, says: I have been here for the last 29 years. I am married with two adult children. My journey to being an LLM has had a number of milestones and taking a Diploma in Biblical and Theological Studies at Wycliffe Hall has been one of them.“
Shirley Bull, of Broughton, Aylesbury, says: “I enjoy preaching, leading worship and pastoral work. I was a missionary for 27 years in DRC (Democractic Republic of Congo), first training Sunday school teachers and youth workers, then as Principal of Baringa Theological Institute. I now work freelance as an interpreter and tutor in community interpreting.”
Stephanie Lacey is from Duns Tew in North Oxfordshire, which is in the Benefice of Duns Tew, Sandford St Martin, Steeple Barton and Westcote Barton. She has almost retired from paid employment and has two step children, a daughter and five step grandchildren.
Ross Martin says: “I currently work as an LLM/Hon Chaplain with NHS Trust Littlemore Hospital having retired after 30 years working with both individuals and groups as both a Probation Officer and Treatment Manager with Thames Valley Probation.  I have been married to Judith for 47 years.We have 2 children, 3 fabulous grandchildren- to keep us fit and young.” Ross was featured in the ‘God in the Life Of’ section of the December 2012 edition of the Door.
The licensing happened as a new report was published, highlighting the success of the Oxford’s training programmes for both LLMs and ordinands. Oxford was given overall confidence for its programmes, and confidence with qualifications in a few areas.
Keith Beech-Gruneberg, Director of Local Ministry Training, said: “I’m delighted that the inspectors have recognised the high quality training the Diocese offers to LLMs, ordinands and a wide range of other lay learners. We will of course be engaging with their recommendations over the coming months as we continue to develop the programme, not least with my national work towards the new partnership with the University of Durham.”
It also highlights the importance of the work of lay ministers as the Diocese moves into the next strand of the Living Faith vision – Shaping Confident, Collaborative Leadership, throughout 2014.

Imagining Faith LLM Conference

NEXT year’s annual Licensed Lay Ministers Conference will be part of our Imagining Faith series of conferences and takes place
from the evening of Friday 27 June to the afternoon of Sunday 29 June 29 at Milton Hill House, Steventon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6AF.
Speakers include Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford and the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester. Oxford Diocese’s Director of Mission, the Revd Dr Michael Beasley, said David, the keynote speaker, is a Licensed Lay Minister himself as well as a “theologian of extraordinary breadth.” Michael said: “I can think of no one better qualified to engage and inspire Licensed Lay Ministers on the topic of Imagining Faith.”
LLMs interested in booking should see or call 01865 208251 to book or for more information.


Worship Workshop for Clergy, Lay Ministers & Church Workers

A specially tailored version of Worship Workshop. This course explores many practical ideas for school worship and includes material appropriate in all types of school, church or otherwise.

The course will explore:


  • Engagement with the whole school community including, pupil/student leadership and creation of worship, parish and church relationships;
  • Liturgy, Seasons, Festivals, the place of the Bible and how these can lead into spiritual experiences and sacramental possibilities;
  • Creating prayers with children and developmental aspects of prayer including Suggestions for worship in classes and some ideas for young children;
  • Worship throughout the life of the school – SMSC and Personal Development;
  • We will consider themes, values and patterns in worship and school life and the place of planning, policies and governors.


Through the course participants will have a clear understanding of the role of worship in church school, how this can contribute to good/outstanding SIAMS judgements and the role it can play in good SMSC and Personal Development within the Ofsted framework.

The course will be led by Robin Sharples, Diocesan School Link Adviser

This Worship Workshop is for all people in parishes involved in worship in schools or who are interested in learning more.

‘Immensely helpful – really enjoyed the whole day. I greatly valued
the information and the discussions with other participants. Thank you.’


Course Leaders: Robin Sharples



Cost: £12 + VAT

To book please click the link: