I am delighted to announce that Alison Fisher has been accepted and recommended for Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) training – more traditionally known as Reader Ministry. This is a significant commitment in time and energy, the training for Reader Ministry is as academically rigorous as the training for priesthood. Here Alison reflects on the experience of being ‘nudged’ towards this vocation…
…Alison Fisher writes:
Lay Reader training here I come… (well it’s called Licensed Lay Ministry these days)
Last weekend I had three zoom interviews, and later in the week was told I have a place to train as a Licensed Lay Minister (LLM). Heck. How has that happened? At the sprightly ‘young’ age of 62 it was now or never really (once you’re 65 you can’t start the training…..hmm. That’s another piece for another day).
Graeme has asked me to write something about getting to this point and it’s an odd journey. I’ve helped out in our Church in Marsden over the years doing various bits of ‘leading’ from time to time. The Church of England generally is keen now that everyone who takes on any leadership role is trained so I thought I would try a Lay Worship Leader course which is run in the Diocese (it sounded interesting).
Having managed to miss a couple of deadlines for application, partly through being without a parish priest at the time, I finally tried again this year. I missed yet another deadline, although this time I did at least have Graeme’s support to do it.
From this failed attempt came a discussion with Graeme where he ‘nudged’ me to think about doing the LLM training instead. “Hmm. Not sure”, I thought. Two year’s academic work and an introduction to Theology course first. When I last did an academic award I told Dave to shoot me if I said I was going to do anything like that again, and more importantly, I’m not at all sure I’m the right person. I’m not sure I have a ‘deep enough’ or ‘thought through enough’ faith. I certainly don’t have a good bible grounding and I struggle with quite a lot of it too; I must speak to Sue Everill, who I hear has read it all very recently.
I talked to friends who know me well and interestingly, someone I did a Theology degree with (over forty years ago now) has just finished her LLM training, so she was a good sounding board. A couple of vicar friends who I’ve got to know well were good to chat to as well. Graeme’s wife, Carol, who is a reader also gave me a good bit of time to talk it through.
And then I thought, “OK – I’ll give it a go.” Maybe I’m not being ‘called’ as such but I certainly felt a bit of a push, and here I am: several forms, interviews, and an introduction to theology course later – and now an LLM course starting in September it seems. I have acquired various books (thank you to the Holdsworths and to Geoffrey) and I’ve met some good folk on the introductory course who are starting in September too, at the Mirfield hub.
Let me know what you think those who know me – help me check out it’s the right thing. You can tell I’m still doubtful, but I know my own faith is very important to me and I feel strongly our Church should be inclusive and easy to access for everyone, which is where I feel I want to put my energy. I want as many people as possible to have the same sense of never being alone, and always being loved, that I have.
So you may see me popping up trying out some different sorts of worship, and I may even be asking you for feedback on some preaching at some point. Watch this space…..