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 – )