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ALMs share their testimonies

Published: 18th December 2023

A number of ALMs offered their testimonies at All Saints Church in Evesham on All Saints Sunday, with a bit of background on why they became ALMs and what they enjoy about their roles.

Their testimonies were reported in the Evesham parish magazine and those who spoke have kindly agreed for the piece to be reproduced here!

Lee Fisher – ALM Worship Leader

Lee FisherBefore my ALM journey, I was a server.  That's where I acquired the alb I’m wearing this morning.  I used to watch the worship leaders from my place on the dais and was inspired to try for the role myself when a certain reflection, during a family service we used to have, really impressed me.

Now I cherish my role as a Worship Leader and am proud to serve this benefice, here and at St Egwin’s, Norton, where I am made very welcome and am much appreciated. 

Here at All Saints, I am also the Sacristan.  Having mastered the first vestry, I may move on to the choir vestry or even the kitchen, planning for total dominance.

In all seriousness, all that I can express is gratitude for this opportunity.  Along with being a Street Pastor, it’s my way of serving our town.

Lindsay Ladbrook – ALM Worship Leader

Lindsay LadbrookI was licensed as an ALM (Authorised Lay Minister) in 2013.

After years of serving on PCCs in various places and twice having been Churchwarden - here at All Saints and elsewhere - I had a strong sense of this being the time to think about serving God in a different way.

Andrew and the PCC were kind enough to endorse my application for training as a “Worship Leader”. I now assist Andrew and Lee at our Sunday Eucharist and officiate at Sunday services in St Egwin’s Norton, and in All Saints on Thursdays when required. We also have a long tradition of monthly services at Yates Court and Greenhill Residential Care Home.

Forty years of teaching in Further Education - standing up in front of people and perfecting the art of looking and sounding as if I knew what I was doing - has set me in good stead!

In 2016, Bishop John proposed a pilot scheme to train ALMs in the Funeral Ministry. There were two of us licensed in this deanery. It is the greatest privilege to be invited into a family’s home when they are still raw with grief and to help them prepare a funeral service that will be a fitting tribute to their loved one; to offer choices that will make the service personal to them; and perhaps to help with writing and very often reading eulogies, on their behalf.

Doing this, I have felt that being a Funeral Minister is a coming together of whatever gifts I have been given and of God offering the opportunity at just the right time in my life. So often, it is only when one looks back that one can see how God has been guiding and enabling.

Finally, I would like to thank Andrew for giving all of us the opportunity to develop our roles as Authorised Lay Ministers in the widest possible way and, personally, to express my gratitude to this congregation for all the love and support I have received over the past ten years.

Carol Sheehan, ALM in Pastoral Care

Carol SheehanPastoral care means many things, including helping inside the church at the Tea Service or outside the church at the Foodbank and Street Pastors.

Because of my ALM pastoral care training, I had the opportunity to play an active part in Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees as the group secretary and teaching language classes, working at the clothing Hub in the Riverside centre and supporting individual families.

One of my English class pupils, from Iran, spoke about the hardship of leaving his wife and family; what it was like to be on a journey for two months - the hunger, thirst, sleeplessness, walking and thinking about his family.  He said that his Christian faith helped him as he remembered one message from the bible that calmed him down: Jesus Christ is like a lamp, a light, and whoever follows it will not go into darkness.  He believed this, and when he came to the beach on the French coast and got into a small boat in darkness and freezing cold, he did not know his destination, but there was a light in his heart that gave him hope to overcome his fear.  He is so thankful for arriving safely in Evesham and for the love and care they all receive from our group and neighbours in the town.

It is a real privilege to serve in this way as a Pastoral Care ALM.

Rosie Grove – ALM in Pastoral Care

Rosie GroveI was encouraged to apply for ALM training shortly after retiring from my nursing role and, so, the Pastoral Care discipline within the course seemed the most natural fit for me.  As part of the course, we had four full Saturdays at the Old Palace, where people came together from all the modules of the ministry training to hear interesting speakers talking about theology, prayer and spiritual practices.  These Saturdays were wonderful; I learned a lot and made copious notes in this little book that I have frequently referred back to and some of which I thought I would share with you this morning.

After being licenced, the adventure began!  We looked at the needs of different people in the parish, started the Tea Service and expanded our work with children and families, reaching out to other voluntary groups and churches.  There has been help and support from so many people here.  Thank you to Andrew for giving me the freedom to try different things, to the Tea Service Team for their enthusiasm and hard work, Jayne for making sure I don’t get carried away with exciting children’s activities (!) and to the whole congregation who have been unfailingly supportive. 

I would definitely recommend the training and, so, here are the notes I want to share with you.

First have confidence, we are all a work in progress like pieces of rock in the divine sculptor’s hands; we all have the potential to be beautiful.  So even if we are a bit knobbly at the moment, God can smooth us out.

The second note I have taken as a sort of commission: “Don’t measure the earth’s shortcomings but enchant and seduce people with the beauty of love.”  “You are put in place to love the people not fill the church”.

And, lastly, I’ll thank you and stop because my final note to share says, “God is love.  The rest is commentary”.

Page last updated: Monday 18th December 2023 2:49 PM

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