New Bishop’s Advisers for Licensed Lay Ministers

The Ministry Team at Church House is delighted to welcome two new members of staff. Jeanette Howe (left) and Karen MacMillan (right) jointly share the role of Bishop’s Adviser for Licensed Lay Ministers, working the equivalent of a full-time role.

Jeanette, a Reader from Eccleston and Pulford was licensed at the Reader Community Day in Elworth on 4 November, and Karen, a Pastoral Worker from St Mary Magdalene, Ashton upon Mersey, was licensed at Foxhill on 29 November.

As part of the Ministry Team, Jeanette and Karen will be responsible for encouraging, supporting, and developing licensed lay ministry within the Diocese.

The Reverend Simon Chesters, Director of the Ministry team at Church House, says “I’m delighted to welcome Jeanette and Karen into this new role. It represents a significant investment in our community of Pastoral Workers and Readers across the diocese, and it is wonderful that God has given us these two people who bring passion, experience and wisdom to this work, as well as combining their experience of both Pastoral Worker and Reader ministry. And the fact they live in the two different archdeaconries is a great blessing to our geographically diverse diocese. It’s great to have them joining the Ministry team and we look forward to all God will do in and through them in this new role.”

Before the pandemic, Jeanette and her husband John, moved from Bury, Lancashire to the rural village of Pulford, just south of Chester. They joined their three children, who had made their home in the Diocese of Chester in recent years. They now have four grandchildren and a little girl on the way.

Since a very young age, Jeanette’s life has been transformed by the knowledge of the living God, in Jesus Christ; and, throughout the years God has guided her through the storms and the calm waters of life. Seeking to serve God in a variety of careers and church roles, she has studied many subjects: Scripture, Psychology, Leadership and Management, Careers Guidance, Theology and Mission, all seeking to bless the people in the communities where she was called to serve.  She has played an active part in Church life since her teenage years; eventually being trained as a Licensed Lay Minister: a Reader, initially in Manchester Diocese and more recently in Chester.

She says, “God has given me a heart for building community and, I believe, equipped my life to this point for a calling to the role as Bishop’s Adviser for Licensed Lay Ministers. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity”.

Karen grew up in New Zealand, arriving in Manchester in 1991 after completing a Management Studies degree and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.  After getting married to Charles and having three children (along with two stepchildren), she studied part-time obtaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Kingdom Theology.    Alongside pastoral support within her church, she volunteered with The Christie Spiritual Care Team, and explored Hospital Chaplaincy.  Not feeling called to ordained ministry, Karen has sought various opportunities to serve both within church and the wider community, including being licensed as a Pastoral Worker.

With a strong pastoral heart, Karen is passionate about the role lay people can play in and outside of Church and how through training, support and encouragement they can explore ways to be Christ in the world with the added value, authority and accountability that licensing brings.   She hopes to raise the profile of licensed lay ministry whilst seeking opportunities to expand and shape new possibilities for the future.

Karen and Jeanette write: “We are excited to be working as part of the wider Ministry Team, supporting and encouraging Pastoral Workers and Readers in the Diocese of Chester, so that they in turn, through their ministries, bless the people they serve. Please pray for us.”

If you’re interested in exploring a call to ordained, licensed or other types of ministries, do book for our Called to Serve event on January 27 at Foxhill – Jeanette and Karen will be there along with the rest of the team.

Page last updated: Monday 4th December 2023 1:20 PM
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