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Accredited Lay Ministers
This includes Accredited Lay Ministers, Deaconesses and Church Army Officers.
Selection and Training
Enquiries about selection and training should be made to the Area Bishop, who will refer the candidate to the Area Director of Ordinands before deciding whether to sponsor him or her for a Selection Conference.
Qualifications and Licence
All Accredited Lay Ministers employed in the Diocese must be licensed by the Area Bishop. To be eligible for this, they must have successfully completed a course of training at a recognised Theological College or Course. Accredited Lay Ministers may only be appointed with the approval of the Area Bishop.
In assessing the total cost to the parish of employing an Accredited Lay Minister, account must be taken of the following:
- The seniority of the person (number of years since first licensing) in order to determine his or her position on the diocesan incremental scale.
- The provision of suitable accommodation, free of rent, rates, insurance and repairs.
- The employer’s share of NI and pension contributions.
Expenses of office, including postage, stationery, telephone and travel should be borne by the PCC.
There is a non-contributory pension scheme provided by the Church of England Pensions Board. Accredited Lay Ministers are contracted out of the Government’s scheme.
Incumbents proposing to appoint assistant ordained staff or Accredited Lay staff should consult their Area Bishop at an early stage. The Area Bishop will enquire about a particular individual of the Bishop of the Diocese in which a priest, deacon or Accredited Lay Minister is serving. The Area Bishop will also wish to interview a person before any formal invitation of appointment to a particular post is made. Such assistant staff should have ministerial specifications and working agreements which are reviewed regularly and are part of the Ministerial Review scheme and diocesan CME provision.
The relevant Archdeacon should be consulted about the funding of assistant ordained staff or Accredited Lay staff.
Status and Function
Accredited Lay Ministers should be regarded in all respects as colleagues and full members of staff. They are ex-officio members of the PCC and the Deanery Synod.
Accredited Lay Ministers can, under the direction of the parish priest, lead the people in public worship, exercise pastoral care, instruct people in the Christian Faith and prepare them for the reception of the sacraments, say or sing Morning and Evening Prayer (except for the Absolution), and distribute the Holy Communion.
The Area Bishop may also authorise Accredited Lay Ministers to perform any of the following duties at the invitation of the parish priest: to preach, church women, to publish Banns of Marriage at Morning and Evening Prayer. With the goodwill of the person responsible, he or she may conduct funerals in church or at a cemetery or at a crematorium.
During a vacancy, the functions performed at the invitation of the incumbent may be performed at the invitation of the Area Dean, to whom the Accredited Lay Ministers are responsible. An incumbent may invite an Accredited Lay Minister from another parish to take services (as indicated above) in his church, with the permission of his or her own incumbent.
A fully qualified Accredited Lay Minister may be licensed to serve on a part-time basis. Provided that he or she is working on at least a half-time basis, and definite arrangements are made about the hours of duty, it is then possible for employment to be on a salaried basis.
Every Accredited Lay Minister should have a free day (24 hours) each week, in addition to the normal holidays of one month’s annual leave and a full week after Christmas and Easter, all on full pay. A certain part of every day must also be free.
During the first three years after training, he or she will be expected to take part in Post Ordination Training. Accredited Lay Ministers should have adequate time for study, preparation of talks, sermons and meetings. They should be encouraged to take advantage of in-service training courses from time to time. Time should be allowed for attendance at Quiet Days and for an Annual Retreat.