Clergy and Licensed Lay Ministers

In the diocese there are approximately 200 priests who hold the bishop's licence, and around another 100 retired priests who have permission to help out in parishes.  In addtion to this there are licensed lay ministers who help minister in our 350 parishes.


Clergy person preachingClergy can do a variety of jobs.  Most clergy are licensed by the bishop to serve in a parish. Many are in charge of a parish, or more often, a group of parishes. They usually have the title Rector, Vicar or Priest in Charge.  These clergy are responsible for the pastoral care of those who live in their parishes and with their church council (called the Parochial Church Councils or PCC) are responsible for arranging church services and the upkeep of the church buildings and churchyard.  Other clergy are licensed as ‘Associate’ or ‘Assistant’ priests.  These clergy help out in parishes. 

The final group of clergy licensed to parishes are those that have just been ordained.  These are called curates and they serve in parishes  for about three years while they ‘learn the ropes’. They are first ordained deacon by a bishop.  Usually after a year the bishop ordains them as a priest, although a few do choose to stay as deacons.  A deacon is a serving role and focuses on pastoral work.  They are not able to lead communion services.  

When clergy retire some of them wish to carry on helping out in parishes.  If they just work in one parish, or one group of parisehs, they are often licensed by the bishop as assistant priests.  If they prefer to to work in a variety of parishes the bishop can give them Permission to Officiate (PTO)

A few clergy don't work in parishes at all, but instead work in prisons, schools, hospitals or other such institutions.  These are called chaplains.  Find out more about these priests here.


Find your local parish priest

To find your local parish priest click here, or contact the Diocesan Office.


Welcomes & Farewells

Click here to see people we have welcomed into new roles in the Diocese and those we have wished farewell.


Licensed Lay Ministers

Lay Ministers sat at their licensing serviceWe welcome the ministry of lay people in the life of the Church. God calls all his people to serve and the diocese recognises and rejoices that for many people this will be in some form of ministry, licensed by the bishop. There are a number of distinct forms of Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) which might include evangelism, pastoral work, leading worship, youth ministry or many other callings.

All those who wish to hold a form of licensed lay ministry train for two years.  They are then licensed to become Lay Ministers in their parishes by the bishop at a special service in the Cathedral. Some may continue training for an additional year and are then admitted as Readers by one of the bishops in the parishes where they will serve. Licensed Lay Ministers generally serve in the parish or group of parishes where they live, however Readers are able to serve in other parishes in the diocese as well.

LLM's not only have the support of their parish or benefice and incumbent, but also the Wardens of Lay Ministry.  For those in the Oakham Archdeaconry this is Mark Lucas and Carolyn Brawn and in the Northampton Archdeaconry Sue Pinington and Paul McLeod.

If you feel called to serve as a lay minister, the best place to start is by talking to your parish priest. They will be able to help you discern which form of ministry might be best for you. You might be interested in attending a day to help you explore what type of ministry you are being called to. Details of this are here, as are contact details for the lay vocations officers. You can also get an idea of the type of training which is involved by visiting the Lay Ministry Training section of this website.

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