Strengthening and Growing the Ministry Team in the Benefice of Shepshed and Oaks

After a period of discernment, teaching and theological reflection, four new Lay Worship Leaders were recently commissioned to the Benefice of Shepshed and Oaks.
John Dodson, Glennis Wilcox, Diane Melton and Steve Upton have joined the work of the Ministry Team in the benefice, leading ‘Services of the Word’ and in the mission of growing new disciples of Christ and encouraging others to deepen their faith.

The four new Lay Worship Leaders will play an important role in the benefice and the changing structures of ministry, along with the formation of Minster Communities.

A celebratory Service of Commissioning was held at St Botolph’s Church in Shepshed, and led by Revd Andrew Race, Area Dean of Akeley East, alongside benefice Lay Readers, Richard Rock and Michael Torne. It was Michael who encouraged and facilitated the four in a six-week preparation period of teaching and theological reflection.

Revd Andrew Race, said: “It has been a privilege to journey with John, Glennis, Steve and Diane, as they have prepared for their commissioning as Lay Worship Leaders.

“During the Commissioning Service, one of the questions asked was: You have been called by God in baptism to share in the ministry of the church. Will you now commit yourself to sharing in this ministry as a Lay Worship Leader? They replied: With the help of God, we will.

“We are reminded that all baptised members of the Body of Christ are called to share in the ministry of Christ through his church. Please pray for John, Glennis, Steve and Diane as they embark on this ministry, and for all who are trying to listen and work out the call of God on their life.”

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 or 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.

New Worship Leaders, Steve and John, shared a little of their journies in faith with us, and why they decided to follow their calling to lay ministry.

Steve has worshipped at the small, rural church of St James the Greater in Oaks in Charnwood for 14 years having attended 'very different, larger urban churches', previously. He says: “I felt called to worship at St James’ and be part of the local community and, over the years I have become Church Warden and gone on to help lead worship in our family services.

“We have been in vacancy since June 2022 and, with the onset of Minster Communities, our benefice has recognised the need to equip people to lead non-eucharistic services,” he explains.

“I was therefore glad to have the opportunity to benefit from support and training to help develop my skills as a Lay Worship Leader and hope and pray that I will be able to put these to good use in the future.”

John unexpectedly came to faith in the summer of 2015 at the age of 39, after having no religious belief.

“I refer to my coming to faith like the 'Parable of the Sower' and although the seed fell on the hard road, I believe the Spirit lifted it up and it fell on the good soil, where it was nurtured and grew,” he says.

“Since then I have served in church in various roles, most notably as Church Warden, and all the additional roles that come with being warden!

“In 2019, my then vicar dropped a leaflet on me at the end of a PCC meeting. It said: ‘Are you called to ordained ministry?’ At that point I started discerning if I was called to the priesthood and over a few years (through the pandemic and many Zoom meetings) I decided that that calling was not for me at this stage.

“I felt drawn to the people of St Botolph’s Church and the town of Shepshed and my direction, being led by the Holy Spirit, was leading me to be right where I am.

“Leading worship for me is an honour, and it brings me great joy. I feel God is not yet done with me as I journey on in my quest to be more Christ-like every day.”

First published on: 1st March 2024
Powered by Church Edit