Manna feature: Giving life to our churches

25th January 2023

Bishop Michael with Revd Suse Osmond and cafe staff

What does ministry look like where you are? Does it look the same as it did five years ago? In Bath and Wells we have been encouraging the bubbling up of a variety of ministries – lay and ordained – as we seek to release the gifts of all and, in the process, help to give life to the Church. 

Suse Osmond, Vicar of St Mary’s Bridgwater says, “Everybody has a gift to bring to their church and when people are encouraged to use those gifts that’s when church works best. There are a million and one things that I am not gifted with and welcome those with the gifts to support me - we all need others to support us.”

In St Mary’s, Suse has been challenging the perception that only the vicar can lead worship by encouraging others in small ways; asking others to lead Café Church worship, think of creative ways to pray, or a develop a theme for a particular service. Those blessed with other gifts are also recognised including café volunteers, who offer pastoral care not just a hot drink, and a church member with a passion for positive mental health who is being encouraged to explore ways the church can offer a combination of mental health and spiritual support.

Says Revd Suse, “We can be nervous about starting something new as we feel we don’t have enough to people but I have found that if you step out in faith the support can come. In times of crisis, for example when we wanted to support Ukrainian refugees, the community has heard our story and stepped in to help. We have also found volunteers on websites such as Spark Somerset. One volunteer, who ended up joining our congregation, has since volunteered her gifts to become our new PCC Secretary.” 

Want to encourage a conversation about what church looks like where you are? Find the resources at

This article appeared in the February 2023 issue of our Manna mailing.

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