Nick's Call to Lay Ministry

My training and accreditation as a Methodist Local Preacher The 13th July, 2012 seems a long time ago since Reverend Heather Walker , on recommendation of the Leaders of Worship and Preachers meeting, gave me a ‘note to preach’ in order to test my calling as a local preacher. I had been challenged by the call to preach on a couple of previous occasions but family circumstances and then the possibility of being pulled away from my home church family on a Sunday morning had prevented me from pursuing it further. However, this time I felt more positive about the call and prepared myself to test that calling. I was provided with a mentor, Mrs Ann Tooth, who was very encouraging as I begun to help with her appointed services – leading prayers, choosing hymns, leading a young people’s talk, etc. I was also amongst some of the last students to follow the old style Faith and Worship course – the theological and academic side of the training. Initially, Lorna Valentine helped with the tutoring and after the first 3 modules and assignments, I conducted a trial service at Elton and was accepted and recommended by the Leaders of Worship and Preachers meeting to be put on trial as a Methodist Local Preacher. This meant that I was let loose on the Peterborough Methodist Circuit to conduct services and preach on my own whilst continuing with the 17 units/ modules of the Faith and Worship course. Ann continued as my mentor and Mrs Margaret Brown and Mr Owen Gardiner were assigned as tutors. During this time, not only were assingments for each module sent off to the connexional team at Methodist Church House, London for assessment, but conducted services were also assessed, both by peers and members of the congregation and by myself as self- reflection. All this made up a portfolio of work which also contributed to marks from London. At times, going ‘on trial’ as a local preacher, certainly lived up to its name. As I have shared with a number of people, my feelings towards all the studies, assignments and service preparation and delivery has been rather masochistic; I have enjoyed the challenge, discipline and academic testing of the Faith and Worship course as it prepared me for life as a local preacher. After what seemed an age of 4 years of managing to fit tutorials, assignments, portfolio preparation and leading services as a single parent and self- employed person ,I eventually arrived at the point of my final interview in front of my peers at the Leaders of Worship and Preachers meeting. Electing to be questioned on John Wesley’s sermon ‘Christian Perfection’ alongside my calling, I was graciously recommended to be accepted as a Local Preacher in the Peterborough Circuit at the next circuit meeting. From the minutes of that meeting it would appear that the choice of ‘Christian Perfection’ may have been a good one as perhaps the meeting felt obliged to recommended me as no serving preacher is ever considered to be the finished article and is always striving towards the goal of being more Christ-like in their approach and message. On the 19th October, 2016 I felt so elated and blessed to be accepted as a local preacher in the Peterborough Methodist Circuit and very much looked forward to helping plan my service of recognition and admission as a local preacher with the circuit staff. The service at Whittlesey Methodist/ United Reform Church meant so much to me. I was so grateful to the wonderful support of my peers, circuit members, church family and friends. I was particularly touched by the ecumenical ministerial support, including Reverend Heather Walker who started my journey with her signed note to preach. I would like to thank the gracious time afforded me by my tutors and mentor throughout my training; to Ann Tooth for kindly preaching at the service, to Susan Halford, Worship Leaders and Local Preachers secretary and to Reverend Dr Langley Mackrell-Hay and Reverend Lesley Moseley for presiding at the service. This is the transitional stage of my journey as a local preacher and I am sure my peers would echo this request as we would ask for your prayers of support that the Holy Spirit continues to convict and inspire the proclaimed message through the work of Ministers, Local Preachers and Worship leaders. That we all seek and are open to God’s message for today and, as members of the body of Christ, we respond to the Great Commission of Discipleship and declare the Kingdom of God both in word and deed. Nick Drury