Occasional preachers


Occasional preachers

The Bishop has decided to delegate permission to authorised 'occasional preachers' to the local incumbent. This is in situations where a person is identified as having:

  • potential or a gift for preaching
  • sufficient Christian experience
  • good standing in the parish
  • been a worshipping member of the congregation for at least 6 months

Permission is given through the incumbent, emphasising the trust placed in the incumbent to exercise the role of discerning, calling out and supervising those with gifts for this ministry. When there is a vacancy, then the rural dean is responsible in consultation with the churchwardens for the supervision of those who preach. Permission lapses on the institution of a new incumbent but may be renewed.

The Bishop's delegation of authority to the incumbent is subject to the following procedure being followed:

  1. The first stage needs to be prayerful consideration and conversation by the candidate and the incumbent in consultation with the PCC (on behalf of the congregation).
  2. The formal consent of the PCC should be obtained.
  3. The candidate should complete Part A of the form in the back of this guidance note; the incumbent and PCC should complete Part B. This should be sent to the Director of Ministry.
  4. Candidate and incumbent will be invited to an evening gathering or a separate meeting with the Ministry Training Officer where the Bishop's policy and guidelines will be explored, the process outlined, issues of training addressed, and the training agreement introduced.
  5. Incumbents and candidates complete a training agreement in consultation with the Director of Ministry/Ministry Training Officer. This will take into account previous experience and theological formation/training, outline when the candidate would be preaching and how sermons would be reviewed.
  6. Unless the candidate has had extensive training in preaching, candidates would be expected to attend two training events during the year and an all-day Saturday introduction to preaching and a midweek evening preaching workshop.
  7. Unless the candidate has engaged in formal theological formation/training, candidates would be expected to attend a diocesan Discipleship course (delivered locally) or other equivalent training (that has a major emphasis on Scriptural formation).
  8. All authorised ministers in the diocese are required to follow diocesan safeguarding procedures and to have received clearance following a DBS check.
  9. When a training agreement is in place and has been approved by the Director of Ministry, the incumbent issues a letter to the candidate (sample in Appendix) authorising their preaching in the local parish(es).
  10. After a year the Director of Ministry/Ministry Training Officer would normally meet with the incumbent and candidate. In preparation for this the incumbent and candidate will consult with the PCC (formally and informally), gather some written feedback, consider the training agreement and further training requirements. 
  11. Throughout the process consideration needs to be given as to whether the candidate has a vocation to a public licensed ministry (which would involve further training).
  12. Authorisation will lapse after a further three years (and every three years thereafter). It may be renewed only after a further review involving the Director of Ministry/Ministry Training Officer on behalf of the Bishop.

To discuss the process of authorisation as an Occasional Preacher, please contact the Mission and Ministry team for further advice.


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