Does LLM replace Reader ministry?
All those newly selected will train as Licensed Lay Ministers. However, this ministry is entirely complementary to Reader ministry. Both carry an equivalent Bishop’s Licence and both are recognised nationally throughout the Church of England as of equal status and training.
So what about those who are already Readers, will they have to become LLMs?
Readers can continue to call themselves ‘Reader’, and there is absolutely no compulsion to change to the new title. However, if Readers wish to style themselves ‘Licensed Lay Minister’ they may do so with immediate effect. Both titles will, therefore, be fully recognised alongside each other in London Diocese.
I am a Reader and would like to style myself ‘Licensed Lay Minister’. How should I go about this?
A change to ‘LLM’ should be talked through with your incumbent who may suggest that this is an appropriate discussion for the PCC. It may well be that you and your incumbents could use such a change as a discussion point in terms of ministry practice within your parish.
So what’s the big difference between Reader ministry and Licensed Lay Ministry?
The big difference is one of focus. The idea behind LLM is to broaden out the areas of ministry that LLMs will be involved with. The reality is that many Readers are already undertaking broad ministries, but the clear intention is to encourage this and to ensure that appropriate training, development and support is available.
What do you mean by broader focus?
Traditionally the main focus of Reader ministry has been in Preaching and Leading Worship. Whilst this may well continue to be appropriate for many LLMs, the intention is to give equal focus to other aspects of ministry, including adult education and small group work, mission and evangelism, pastoral ministry, youth and children’s ministry, work-place ministry, chaplaincy, etc. It is likely (though not necessary) that LLMs will develop a specialism one of these ministry areas.
How will appropriate ministry focus be decided?
Each candidate for Licensed Lay Ministry will be able to discuss possibilities in the discernment process and throughout their training. Appropriate specialisms can be agreed and developed, in consultation with the candidate’s incumbent.
Are there any entry qualifications to embark upon LLM Training?
The simple answer is ‘no’. Some people, however, will be more prepared for studying at this level than others. For those who are selected, but do not feel equipped there is an Access course, which can be tuned to particular needs, including people who have not undertaken study for a long time (or not at all) and those for whom English is a second language. The access course will normally be for two years, but may be completed in a year. All studying is part-time.
So can I just sign up for the LLM course?
To become an LLM in London Diocese you will need to go through a discernment process. This will begin with a discussion with your incumbent (vicar / minister / parish priest / etc). If together you both feel that this in an appropriate way forward you will then meet with the Area Warden of LLMs and your incumbent will seek a recommendation from the PCC. You will meet with others who will assist in the discernment process and then make their recommendation to the Bishop. The Bishop makes the final decision as to whether you should go forward to be trained as an LLM.
Is there an age limit?
Candidates for Licensed Lay Ministry will not normally be accepted for training under the age of 18 years or over the age of 58 years. LLMs, then, will normally be between the ages of 21 and 60 years when they are licensed.
What qualification will I get?
Those successfully completing the course of studies will receive a Foundation Degree awarded by the University of Middlesex (this is equivalent to a Diploma). Under certain circumstances, with further academic work, it will be possible to upgrade this to a full degree.
How much does it cost?
The diocese suggests that individuals and parishes may like to contribute one-third each towards the costs of training. However, nobody will be excluded from training on grounds of cost, and the Diocese of London will underwrite the total cost of training for all selected candidates.
So why are you asking for contributions?
Simply so that as many people as possible can benefit from training. Clearly the diocese has limited funds and if the diocese has to pay the full fees for every selected candidate there will have to be a cap on the number of people selected. Those parishes and individuals who are willing and able to contribute will help ensure that training is open to as many candidates as possible.
The brochure talks of ‘Credits’. What are these?
Most universities now work on a credit system, whereby each element of a course gives a certain number of credits towards a total for an award. In this case a total of 240 credits given is equal to an award of Foundation Degree. (A total of 360 credits would give a bachelor’s degree).
Does is make a difference if I already have a relevant qualification?
Under certain circumstance relevant prior learning and qualifications may be taken into account. It will vary from case to case, so once a candidate is recommended for training she or he will have a conversation about their situation and needs with the Area LLM Training Officer.
So will a course be specifically tailored to my needs?
As far as possible, LLM training will take into account the particular needs and preferences of each candidate, but this will need to be balanced with what the available courses are able to offer and the imperatives of the LLM Course.
Who do I speak to for further information?
Your first port of call will normally be your incumbent. However, for further information you can contact your Area Warden of Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers) or your Area Director of Training and Development. If you’re not sure who this is, please contact the Diocesan Director of Ministry Development (details below).