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Image of the Holy Spirit on the Stephen Foster triptych at Northampton Cathedral

Pastoral Ministry Office Minimize

Avril Baigent at laptop 

The Pastoral Ministry Office (website here) exists to support all forms of lay and pastoral ministry across the diocese, particularly focussing on adult formation, and building local capacity.  We believe that the Diocese is richly endowed with gifted people, but that we need to find new ways to help people get involved.  The main activities include

  • Supporting faith formation across the diocese, creating new courses (such as Pathways of Prayer http://formationpathways.co.uk), and training people to run them in parishes.

  • Advising parishes on volunteering, including recruiting and keeping volunteers.  The day-long workshop has proved an excellent kick-starter for parishes wanting to do more, but struggling for people.• Supporting pastoral chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons and universities.

  • Developing new forms of lay ministry and leadership for the diocese

  • Administering the new Lay Formation Fund This is a special fund set aside from Together in Faith appeal to give grants to lay people in active ministry wanting to expand their faith, from local education courses in flower arranging and book keeping, to Certificates in theology, catechesis and more.  The Lay Formation Fund has already made possible several degrees and certificates in theology, vocational training in hospital chaplaincy, a weekend men’s conference, and a projector/screen kit for parish outreach.  For more information click here. The committee meets four times a year to assess applications.
     Lay Formation Fund Application Committee: Rev Francis Higgins; Peter Commons (Together in Faith Stewardship Committee); Alex Heath (NORES); Avril Baigentt

For more information about any of these activities, or to see how Avril could help your parish or pastoral area, please do get in touch: 07823 788 310, or e-mail to  avril@northamptondiocese.com


Some of the projects of the Office have been:-

  • Supporting individual parishes in improving their structures for volunteers, taking a big burden off the priest.

  • Developing a training weekend for small group leaders with the hope that in time, every parish will have at least two people able to run Lent and Advent courses, Alpha, etc.

  • Developing an online prayer course which has encouraged many people to explore the spiritual treasures of the Church.

  •  A special retreat day for hospital chaplaincy volunteers with Bishop Peter and theologian David McLoughlin. Mentoring individuals into paid chaplaincy roles, and advising on the creation of new roles.

  • Developing Guidelines for Communion in Hospital to ensure that both diocesan and NHS standards are met, making life easier for our volunteers.

  • The creation of new chaplaincy teams, both of priests and of lay people. A special welcome Mass for students which also brought new and existing parishioners together.

  • The development of a new Foundations for Ministry course which will launch in September 2019.

  • Advising on new forms of lay ministry and lay leadership as we move forward into the future.

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Chairman: Rev Francis Higgins, 1 Langcliffe Drive, Heelands, Milton Keynes MK13 7PL Tel: 01908 221228. Email: francis@mk-cluster.co.uk  

Lay Ministry Advisory Group: Rev Francis Higgins; Rev Tony Brennan; Canon Kevin O’Driscoll; Rev Joseph Udoh; Rev Dcn Jim Hannigan; Sam Canning; Pat Fuchter; Steve O’Brien; Paula Wynn

Copyright 2019 by the Catholic Diocese of Northampton, Registered Charity No. 234091