Preaching the Gospel is a delight and privilege. It is a key part of the church's mission and ministry. It is an important and responsible task, requiring a depth of Christian experience and understanding.
Much like an iceberg, the 1/9th that we "see or hear" must have another 8/9th of "experience, understanding, knowledge and insight" under the surface. That is why the canons of the Church of England require that a Lay person should have the permission of the Bishop to preach, as well as the invitation of the local minister, and why the Bishop requires preachers to have theological training.
Who may be invited to preach in the Diocese of Ely
Licensed ministers from other dioceses
- If a visiting preacher is licensed to preach in another diocese, s/he may preach in this diocese on an occasional basis in accordance with Canon C8.
One-off specialist speakers
- A representative of an organisation supported by the parish (e.g. a mission agency or charity) may be invited by the incumbent to speak about their work on a single occasion; an author might come and speak about their latest book.
- Such occasions and those also envisaged in 3 and 4 below are covered by a general authorisation of the Bishop in accordance with Canon B18.
Those discerning vocations
- A member of the congregation who is exploring a vocation to authorised ministry may preach occasionally as part of the discernment process, although this needs to be under the careful supervision of the incumbent who must give support and feedback.
Those giving particular interest or seasonal talks
- A member of the congregation may speak in public worship because of their particular experience or knowledge, e.g. how their faith affects their work as a prison officer, or what it is like to be a Franciscan tertiary.
Speakers at all-age worship
- Youth, children's and family leaders/ministers/workers are often expected to speak at services involving children and young people as part of their ministry.
- Such acts of worship may be at the heart of a local church's mission to its community and are, therefore, very important opportunities for communicating the gospel. When these people are licensed, this falls within the terms of their licence.
- Where they are not licensed, the incumbent must give appropriate support and supervision, and if this is to be a regular ministry, then there is an expectation that they are trained and authorised as an ALM Preacher.
Those involved in Fresh Expressions of church
- These provide significant mission opportunities, but also need the same careful supervision, authorisation and training for those who speak and preach within them. Flexibility is necessary in Fresh Expressions but there is still a need to ensure high levels of Christian integrity and quality.