This is a lay person who is selected, trained and authorised to serve alongside the clergy, Readers and churchwardens of a parish or benefice, or as part of an institutional chaplaincy team. They will take on particular responsibilities and sometimes leadership roles within the pastoral ministry of that church or institution, working under the direction of their incumbent or chaplaincy team leader. Following their selection, training and commissioning, pastoral assistants will be part of the public ministry of the Church, representative both of that Church and of the ministry of all lay people. There are various areas of work which could be undertaken by pastoral assistants, depending on the needs of the parish or institution, the existing ministries provided there, and the gifts, training, experience and time that the pastoral assistant can offer. These might include: Baptism preparation and follow up, visiting the sick, crisis support and befriending. Ministry to the dying, support of the bereaved, visiting new comers, working with prayer groups, general pastoral visiting in support of the clergy, enabling and co-ordinating others in pastoral Ministry and encouraging the development of good practice in pastoral care. Pastoral assistants will not normally be involved in or have a role in the liturgical ministry of the parish or institution, (ie. preaching and leading worship). They may however, with other members of the congregation, read lessons and lead intercessions. Pastoral assistants are authorised to distribute Holy Communion to the sick and housebound with the agreement of their incumbent. To administer the chalice in church, additional authorisation from the Bishop should be sought. Commissioning authorises the pastoral assistant for ministry in their parish, benefice or institution only. Pastoral assistants will normally be authorised to work up to the age of 70. They are commissioned for a period of three years after which they will require a renewal of their commission from the Bishop. Contact the Revd Kim Ford, Advisor for Pastoral Assistant Ministry (email@example.com
/ 0116 2592238), for further information.