ALM stands for “Authorised Lay Ministry” and is a role developed within the Diocese of Manchester for lay people to further their ministry within their own parishes under the guidance of the Bishop and the parish incumbent. For a more detailed explanation, and for my experience of ALM please click here.

I was commissioned ALM in September 2013 after a year of training in the Diocese of Manchester. The idea is that ALM’s support ordained ministers in their own churches by taking on more of a leadership role for specific areas of ministry. My specialist area was Prayer and Spirituality, but my role involved not only leading prayers during worship, but also in all sorts of other leadership activities too. The commission is for an initial 3 year period, and then if everything is working out OK, ALM’s can be re-commissioned after a short period of refreshment training for a further 5 years. I was re-commissioned in September 2016. 

I have met a wonderful group of friends and colleagues during both my training and my ministry as an ALM, and for me, it was an opportunity to explore further God’s calling on my life and what it means to be in a leadership role in the Church of England. Click here for the next stage of my ministry journey.

During training, we worked with the following poem that helped illustrate what it means to be an ALM and what church ministry and leadership is all about. It works well for general leadership too:

Lord, you call us to be story-tellers:
Planting your explosive news into our defended lives;
Locating us in the script of your human history.

You call us to be trailblazers:
Living in your future that we receive only as a gift;
Subverting the fixed, fated world of low horizons.

You call us to be weavers:
Tracing, stretching, connecting the knotted threads’
Gathering up unravelling, disconnected lives.

You call us to be fools –
For Christ’s sake: bearing life’s absurdities and incongruities;
Puncturing our seriousness and grandiosity.

You call us to be hosts:
Welcomers of the sacred, intimate, transfiguring;
Lavish celebrants of our communities and homecomings.

You call us to be poets:
Artists and illuminators of inner space;
Naming, invoking, heralding your ineffable presence.

You call us to be gardeners:
Sowers, cultivators, nurturers of fragile lives;
Benefactors of your gratuitous harvest.

You call us to be conductors:
Celebrating polyphony, coaxing symphony;
Orchestrating the praise of your inhabited creation;

Lord, you lavish gifts on all whom you call.
Strengthen and sustain us and all ministers of your church,
That in the range and diversity of our vocation,
We may be catalysts of your kingdom in the world,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Roger Spiller (1944 – )

One thought on “ALM

  1. I could somewhat relate. Over in the US, the Episcopal Denomination, the states are split into Dioceses. I have done some of the events- Outreach for example, and through that event I learned my calling. Yes, I went to two Outreach, but one made me realize that.

    I didn’t understand this at first, but our name tags had either a gold star, a green circle (I think), and others without anything. At dinner, we were split into three section.

    There were only four gold star people, which represented the wealthy and they got a nice meal and served a nice meal.There were only ten of them representing how much of the world were in that class. .

    The green level were buffet natured, which represented the middle class.

    Then those without anything ended up with red beans and nice for dinner in paper cups, paper napkins. I was put into that group. I was surprised by how the vast majority of those at the event were in this category- the low income and homeless, and in that moment, I realized I was meant to make a difference in the low incomes lives- that is my calling.


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