‘Five years ago God was calling me to do something,’ says Claire Horton, a Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) in the Benefice of Atworth with Shaw and Whitley. Having completed her studies, Claire celebratef the renewal of her licensing on September 30 in Salisbury Cathedral.
Before embarking on the LLM programme Claire helped with administration and was involved in putting together services to introduce contemporary worship.
With encouragement from her vicar, Claire set out to explore this calling and attended the Salisbury Diocesan Vocations Day.
Claire says that she felt sure that lay ministry was the pathway for her, and was pleased Sarum College was recommended to her.
‘The team at Sarum were amazing,’ she says. Claire’s training spanned a period of transition between the Oxford Brookes and Durham University, which now validates the programme.
Being part of that transition was both a privilege and a challenge. Claire says she valued ‘working with the Sarum College staff and appreciated the training. I also benefited from the Formation Days at Church House.’
She also values the new model of lay and ordained ministry training together.
‘Learning alongside one another is so important. That way, collaborative practice begins at the outset and is more likely to encourage a foundation for future working together in parish life,’ she says.
A placement at Alabare, as part of the chaplaincy team, working with adults with learning disability ‘was a huge joy and blessing’ and also one that helped her to discern that, although she enjoyed her time there, she recognised that chaplaincy isn’t her calling at this stage: ‘I realised I have a heart for pioneer ministry in some form,’ she says.
Claire says she now approaches her ministry with a different perspective.
‘LLM training has helped me to grow – I now feel more confident about preaching and about engaging with scripture.’ she says. ‘I also have a sense of recognition by the church and the congregation, and of having a distinctive role as a bridge between the Church and all aspects of community life.
‘Working collaboratively alongside others, I look forward to finding ways to connect with people so that God’s love may be known.’
The new Licensed Lay Ministers with those who led their training at Sarum College (left to right) Anne Mantle, Michelle Cobley, the Revd Paul Burden, Claire Horton, the Revd Jennifer Totney, Kerri Canepa, Adrian Light