Well, I did it! Today was the day that this year’s work on my ALM course all came to fruition and I received my commission as an Authorised Lay Minister in my parish.
If you remember, I wrote about what ALM was back in July (click here), but basically ALM stands for “Authorised Lay Ministry” and it is a form of ministry in the Manchester Diocese that enables lay people to take on more of a role in church life, with more of a “job description” attached to it.
There were two parts to our training. The first was something that all candidates did, and it was general training for ALM. It covered things about discipleship and journeying with people and sharing stories etc, but it was also where we got chance to explore our own faith and to question our own calling. The second part was in a specialised, chosen area of ministry. These electives covered such things as “Worship”, or “Children’s Work”, “Pastoral Ministry” etc and I elected to specialise in the ministry of encouraging others in prayer and spirituality.
The end of our course was last Saturday, where we experienced a “quiet day” with all candidates from all the electives. It was a great opportunity to meet each other, pray together, meditate and generally focus on what we have been called to do.
And so to today.
We had our commissioning service this afternoon at All Saints Church in Stand, Whitefield where all 60 of us new ALMs were blessed by the Bishops of Bolton and Middleton and where we were prayed for as we were given the churches authorisation to take our ministry forward. I found it a very emotional experience, especially as it hit me what we were being entrusted with.
I journeyed through this experience with a friend from my church, Lorraine, and we are now our churches 3rd and 4th ALM on the books. We now have an ALM for Worship (David), and ALM for Pastoral Care (Jody, my Mum) and Lorraine and I who are ALMs for encouraging people’s growth in prayer and spirituality.
We had a bit of a do back at our church hall after the service and it was lovely to be supported by so many of our friends and family from both St Paul’s Church (our church) and St Peter’s (our sister church in Blackley).
Here are a couple of pictures from today.