Four women will become the first lay ministers in Brighton to have been commissioned by the Church of England when they are confirmed in their roles at a service tomorrow (Sunday 13 January).
They are Anna Bouch, from St Luke’s, Prestonville, in Brighton, Phil (Philippa) Parsons, from the Church of the Holy Cross, in Woodingdean, and Frances Flowerday and Olive Ridge, both from All Saints, in Patcham.
The four women are among 37 people from across Sussex who will be commissioned at a special service in Chichester Cathedral, the first time the event has been held.
The Diocese of Chichester, which runs the Church of England in Sussex and has its head office in Hove, said: “The individuals, from Anglican churches in the diocese, will form the largest group ever to be recognised for the completion of their studies – the culmination of skills-based training for authorised lay ministry (ALM).
“Authorised lay ministers share in the public ministry of the local church as they serve their local parishes.”
The Reverend Jayne Prestwood, officer for lay vocation and ministry, runs the lay ministry training programme.
She said: “It is wonderful to mark the start of our ‘Diocesan Year of Vocation’ by commissioning the first of our authorised lay ministers.
“Authorised lay ministry is now recognised across the Church of England as a vibrant and growing expression of lay ministry.
”I am delighted that we will be expanding our ALM training programme in 2019 to provide flexible and affordable skills-based training in a variety of different ministries.”
To find out more about training as an authorised lay minister, click here.