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Photo above taken at the West Door of Blackburn Cathedral. More than 100 new ALMs in The Church of England in Lancashire are pictured at the West Door of Blackburn Cathedral with, front row left to right, Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster; Ruth Haldane, Warden of Lay Ministry; Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; Amy White, Lay Training Officer and Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.

Just one week after the commissioning of more than 100 Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) The Church of England in Lancashire commissioned more than 100 Authorised Lay Ministers at Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday. 

Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM) is a new strand of volunteer lay ministry introduced over the past year across the Diocese and is in addition to the work of our existing Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs).  

While LLMs have a broad remit and are nationally recognised, ALMs have trained for very specific ministries in their local church and are authorised by their parish Priest. This year’s cohort include people equipped for children’s ministry, youth ministry, occasional preaching, pastoral care, small group leadership, urban mission and worship leading. 

All three Bishops of the Diocese were in attendance: the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson; Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster. The service was led by Bishop Julian while the sermon was delivered by Ruth Haldane, Warden of Lay Ministry. 

Bishop Julian said today: “The service was a joyous occasion and it was wonderful to be able to commission this large group of ALMs – an important new role in the life of our Diocese. Coming just one week after commissioning over one hundred LLMs, this means that we have over two hundred newly commissioned lay ministers!   

“Alongside their clergy and many other local church volunteers, they will make a huge difference to our work as we continue to make disciples, be witnesses and grow leaders as part of our Vision 2026 Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.” 

Amongst the large group of ALMs authorised at the weekend were Gillian Wright from Whittle-le-Woods and Paul Howard from Euxton.  

Gillian said: “I have been spiritually enriched through the ALM training and God has presented me with several wonderful opportunities to share learning and witness both inside and outside the church.” 

Paul added: “The ALM training has really helped me to grow in confidence in listening to God so that I can work out what he is saying in his Word and share that with others. Being with others in a similar position was fantastic!” 

Ruth Haldane, Warden of Lay Ministry, added: “It is so exciting to see so many people from all kinds of backgrounds stepping into a wide range of roles in parishes across the county. 

As we Unlock after the trauma of the pandemic, each of them has the capacity to make a real difference in their churches and communities.” 

For more information about Authorised Lay Ministry in our Diocese and how to become an ALM (including a helpful video) click here to go to the relevant page on our Diocesan website.