Vocation, or calling, always has two aspects to it. One is your own sense of inner conviction that this is what God wants you to do. The other is the recognition by the church that this is what God is calling you to do. Sometimes other people sense your call before you do, but you take some persuading (or sometimes never see it). Sometimes it starts with your deep conviction, but takes some time for others to see it (and sometimes they may believe you are mistaken).
For Licensed Lay Ministry, as for ordained ministry, there is a period of exploration when you work with others on discerning your calling. In the first place you will meet with one of the Co-Wardens of Readers, and also see another person for general conversation about your calling. The two Co-Wardens are: Rev’d Dr Phil Bradford (responsible for the deaneries of Worcester, Malvern and Upton, and Evesham and Pershore) and Mrs Kath Davis (responsible for the deaneries of Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch, and Kidderminster and Stourport).
- To contact Phil Bradford, email him or ring 01905 423794
- To contact Kath Davis, email her or ring 07984 814747
At some point after this, when both they and you they think there is a real sense of vocation to explore and test, you enter a selection process.
- You will produce a written reflection, and see three different people for a rounded discernment.
- One will explore learning, theology and worship with you.
- One will explore mission and evangelism with you.
- One will explore pastoral ministry with you.
- They will then meet with the Co-Warden of Readers and reflect together on whether they believe you are ready to progress to training for this ministry, or whether further exploration is needed (they think you have a different vocation).
If they recommend you start training, you should be aware that while nearly everybody is licensed at the end of this, the two year period of training offers time for confirming that initial discernment, and exploring what will help you grow into your vocation.
You will also need to complete an Enhanced DBS check as part of the process, fill out a confidential declaration, and do the safeguarding foundation course. (You will do the safeguarding leadership module as part of your training later on.)
In all this process you need to “count the cost”: both training for ministry, and ministry itself require a significant commitment of time, and a willingness to work within the church’s framework of ministry, with and under the authority of your parish priest. You can read more about the training programme on this page.