Christina's Call to Lay Ministry in her Church and Community

Called to serve her church and community in the north-west Leicestershire village of Worthington, Christina Walmsley was recently commissioned as a Locally Authorised Minister at St Matthew’s Church.

Christina Walmsley is a woman of deep faith. Having spent much of her life living and worshipping in this area of the diocese, the call to ‘officially’ offer ministry and spiritual leadership to the community in Worthington was the next step on her life-long journey in faith.

Christina was recently commissioned as a Locally Authorised Minister by Revd Tim Phillips, during a celebratory service at St Matthew’s Church in Worthington. It was a ‘joyful’ and ‘hopeful’ occasion, with Christina surrounded by her church congregation, family, friends and Christians from other churches she has worked with at various stages.

The daughter of a former Worthington Vicar, Christina grew up in the village and came back to worship in the church 30 years ago. Over the years, she has volunteered across a number of roles in church and the local charity sector, joining the PCC and taking on the responsibilities of Churchwarden at St Matthew’s from 2012 until last year. The call to lay ministry was the next, natural step in Christina’s vocation to serve the community in a more ‘spiritual’ way.

“Being a rural church, our congregation felt the need to continue to worship within our church building more regularly than once-a-month and with the support of the Vicar and PCC, I have been sharing God’s Word as part of the Sunday Services,” she explains.

When St Matthew’s became part of the Flagstaff family of Churches, this evolved into a regular pattern of leading once-a-month. “My ministry is always Bible-based, and I appreciate the support of the PCC and congregation in working together to be a witness in the parish,” says Christina. “I have carried out a few pastoral visits and spoken both at the CofE School in Newbold, and Primary School in Worthington.”

St Matthew’s Church’s vision is based on 1 Thessalonians 5 v 11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

“I do feel in my role that I am encouraging those around me as I go about my daily life in the community,” she says.

Alongside her lay ministry in the church, Christina has attended diocesan workshops and has been guided by Revd Tim Phillips to become a Locally Authorised Minister.

As part of her everyday faith, Christina says she always begins her morning with a Bible reading and prayer. “I hope I can be seen as an example of what it is like to be a Christian,” she says.

“I feel humbled to be appointed a Locally Authorised Minister. Having lived in or near the parish, it is helpful that I know many of the longstanding residents and this has opened relationships which may help within the church community and our outreach as we look to the future of the church. It is a privilege to serve our church community.”

Indeed, the vocation to live out our faith in the whole of life is the calling of all Christians. A way in which we can do this more formally, without ordination, is by becoming a Local Authorised Minister. Following your calling and sharing your gifts might lead you to the role of pastoral visitor or pioneer, a children and youth volunteer, or worship leader.

Revd Liz Rawlings, diocesan Discipleship and Vocations Enabler, says: “It is always a delight to see how people are responding to the call of God and a particular joy to be with Christina at her service of authorisation as a Locally Authorised Minister.

“I was able to experience first-hand Christina’s gifts and passion to bless and serve her church and village, to enable others to encounter God, to grow in their faith and live out that faith in the whole of life.”

First published on: 18th March 2024
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