The Celebration of Lay Ministries

16th July 2023

St James Church in Taunton was filled as people came together from across Bath and Wells to celebrate all those who have given their time, talents and gifts to their churches and their communities. During the service all those who have completed a course in the diocese were asked to stand as everyone gave thanks for the gifts they bring.

Jill Perrett, Developing Ministries Adviser said, "Each year the Celebration of Lay Ministries has been an amazing event. It was so inspiring to see the different gifts people have, used so creatively. The recognition of different ministries was wonderful to see as people stood up to be affirmed and how, in the end, everyone was celebrated.

"The celebration continued with cake and conversation with the stallholders showcasing the different possibilities there are to engage in church and community life. It was a sheer joy to be part of this. A huge thank you to everyone for making this happen."

This year the Celebration of Lay Ministries was themed around journey and focused on the journey that each of us is on and also considered what God’s invitation to us is. Individual journeys, the journey of two very different forms of church, and the journey of a community were shared with those gathered.  

Katherine Cannell spoke about her personal journey as Lay Dean of Sedgemoor Deanery, she said, “I am really grateful for the support and opportunity that the role has given me over the past years to use the gifts God has given me.” 

Adrian Prior-Sankey explained how Rail Responders was established and pioneered in Taunton to provide “Fortnightly patrols at the Station and in the vicinity of a high road bridge regularly targeted by those seeking to end their life have led to some significant encounters.”  

While Gary Orriss and Sam Lloyd shared testimonies from their churches. Gary spoke of the journey of Crook Peak Parish. He explained, “We are gaining confidence in who we are and give praise for the way the Spirit of God is moving amongst us.” Sam outlined her story of Church Without Walls in the form of a poem, which told how “Church without walls allowed Howard (God) to sneak into my heart, from broken pieces, abused and falling apart.” 

You can download all the testimonies in full at the bottom of this page.

Throughout the service Revd Andy Gray was illustrating all that took place in pictorial form, as he created one large picture of “What Journey means to you”. Everyone was encouraged to share in pictures or words, their own ideas of journey. 

A video of Saturday’s service is available to watch on YouTube. Photographs from the celebration can be found on the Bath and Wells Facebook page.


An individual's journey - Katherine Cannell

A community's journey - Rail Responders, Adrian Prior-Sankey

Churches Journey

Lay-led church - Gary Orriss

Church Without Walls - Sam Lloyd

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