The Treasures of Church – a conference celebrating lay voices in Edmonton
Amy Li, Christ Church Southgate, describes the Lay Ministry conference held in Edmonton Area.
On Saturday 20 May, the Bishop of Edmonton, Rob Wickham, held a fruitful conference for the Edmonton Area at St. George the Martyr Church in central London. The conference, titled The Treasures of Church – Celebrating Lay Voices in Edmonton, had around 30 people attending.
There had been a lot of preparations and consultations with Bishop Rob’s Discipleship Advisory Group since last year on this project which culminated in a celebration of lay voices.
The conference started with a welcome from Bishop Rob, hymns, a Bible reading and prayer. Bishop Rob delivered a very heartfelt and inspiring message, praising the work of lay ministers and modestly admitting that more importance and support should have been given to Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) and lay ministers more generally during his time as a bishop.
Mirjam Ngoy-Verhage, Diocesan Discipleship Enabler, gave a thoughtful keynote address on celebrating lay leadership, and why lay leadership in discipleship is critical to the growth of the Church. In her talk, Mirjam said,
‘In 8 days’ time, we will mark the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the believers, which some would refer to as the birthday of the Church… This same passage is also the inspiration behind the London Diocese 2030 Vision, aiming for all Londoners to know the love of Christ, with ambitions for Confident Disciples, Compassionate Communities, and Creative Growth as well as priorities of Growing Younger, Safer Churches and Striving for Racial Justice.’
Mirjam then talked about how the story of Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit might renew and encourage us in our shared calling of discipleship and be a celebration of lay leadership. She led us in a contemplative prayer practice focussing on the Holy Spirit as breath, as glue and as gift.
Following the keynote address, three lay voices – Amy Li (LLM at Christ Church Southgate), Jasmin Archibald (Church Warden at St Ann’s South Tottenham) and Ann-Marie Wilson (East Finchley Lay Pioneer) shared their real-life experiences and wonderful testimonies of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, their churches and their ministry.
Lay ministers are not left to work alone! The Ven John Hawkins, the Archdeacon of Hampstead, delivered a powerful message – ‘Together we are the Diocese of London.’ He provided various thoughts and measures of support that are available for LLMs, churches and beyond, all very much encouraging and assuring. It seems a new chapter of lay ministry is on the horizon!
There followed warm discussions and reflections before this wonderful conference concluded in a loving and friendly atmosphere. Everyone in the room was determined to make themselves available to faithfully follow Jesus, be His true disciples, and diligently disciple others, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amy Li is a Licensed Lay Minister of Christ Church Southgate. Before taking on early retirement to answer God’s call to enter full time ministry, she worked as a team leader with ABRSM. Amy enjoys preaching, leading intercession, leading worship for Evensong, deaconing and all other aspects of ministry as an LLM. In her own words: ‘I love God’s church and my deepest desire is to serve Him, to work to His glory.’
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