Licensed Lay Ministry

Work of Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs)

LLMs are lay men and women, from a wide diversity of occupations and backgrounds, who recognise a call to serve God and his world through the Church of England.

They work in a variety of roles and situations across the Church, being authorised by the Church of England to preach and teach, to conduct or assist in conducting worship, and to assist in the pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work of the Church in the parish or area where they are licensed.

As well as their formal roles LLMs have many informal ways of ministering by their presence, witness and listening at their places of work, at home, among their neighbours and in their local communities. They are informed lay people living out their faith in their different walks of life.

Warden of Readers

Warden of Readers (LLMs) for Ely Diocese is Steve Mashford. Steve can be contacted by email on

The Duties of a LLM

LLMs may:

  • Preach
  • Lead worship, except those services and parts of services specifically excluded by Canon
  • Read the Old or New Testament readings, Epistle or Gospel at any service
  • Lead intercessions
  • Receive and present the offerings of the people
  • Distribute the consecrated bread and wine to the people
  • Take Communion to the sick and housebound
  • Publish banns of marriage in the absence of a priest
  • Undertake pastoral and educational work
  • Assist any minister as the bishop may direct

Currently in the Diocese of Ely there are 152 LLMs and can be found in the following four areas.

  • Cambridge North - 31 - includes Deaneries of Cambridge North, North Stowe, Fordham & Quy
  • Cambridge South - 42 - includes Deaneries of Cambridge South, Bourn, Shingay and Granta
  • Huntingdon - 41 - includes Deaneries of Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots and Yaxley
  • Wisbech - 38 - includes Deaneries Wisbech Lynn Marshland, Fincham & Feltwell, March and Ely


A Synopsis of the Sermon preached at the Licensing of our new Licensed Lay Ministers (7th October 2017)

St Mark : 7:24-30

I chose this reading because to me it touched my feelings of exclusion in the early 1990s when myself and other women awaited the response from General Synod re our priesting, but later the transformation of those feelings to absolute inclusion following a meeting with Jesus¦ the whole experience mirroring this account of the Syrophoenician woman.

So we have Jesus who has journeyed to the region of Tyre to rest. Into the scene comes the distraught woman begging for help for her daughter. Jesus answers her in a way that to my ears appears callous, or at the least bantering.

The children have to eat first, it's not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.'

The term dog was commonly used by Jews to name gentiles, and it seems that Gentiles had equally derisory terms for Jews.

I understand and appreciate the commentaries who tell us that Jesus came first of all to the Jewish family of God that they might receive their Messiah, and that in the fullness of time the Gentiles were to be included into the saving grace of God. That satisfied my head but not my heart; it seemed to me to still be a very unsatisfactory conversation. What made her stay and engage with Jesus? She could have walked away muttering her rejection. What did she see in him that enabled her to answer as she did? In her vulnerability she birthed the grace that healed her daughter

In my years of parish ministry I have worked with some amazing Licensed Lay Ministers who I know at times in their journeys of ministry felt that they too were only given the crumbs of ministry that fell from the priests hands or the basket of crumbs that no-one else wanted.

For the Syrophoenician woman the crumbs were enough. For myself the crumbs of priestly ministry were enough.

We have many opportunities now in place for our Lay minister colleagues, new pathways of training, inclusion in any area we offer training in, including some of the Curate training that is appropriate.

We have created a bursary fund for those in lay training.

All commendable and these satisfy my head but again not my heart. After all we were all baptised into one body and, we are charged Let us pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life together. We are created and baptised to be together. Shared ministry is about recognising our gifting and enabling each other to become more fully what God is calling to be. After all its all about Jesus. So if you are the recipient of just a few crumbs of ministry, turn to Jesus, unload your frustration, become vulnerable to him, and maybe those around you (like the woman in our account) and birth his grace. As in that grace are our blessings and our road to fulfillment, all of us a ministers together.

Weaving the tapestry of my life - by Elaine Levitt

The GOLD runs through.

The colours of life weave in and out,making different patterns.

But the GOLD runs through.

The smooth times and the rough times blend together

But the GOLD runs through.

God has held me since my baptism and travels with me in and out of the weave,

as GOLD,

ever present,weaving in the tapestry of my life,

changing my colours slowly to GOLD.

Out of the weave of things dark and light weaves the love of God.