CAPTION: New and transferring Readers were Licensed by Bishop Robert in a service at Exeter Cathedral

New Lay Ministers Licensed in Service Celebrating “Amazing Lay Ministry” Across the Diocese of Exeter

Posted: 5th October, 2021

Six new Lay Ministers (Readers) were licensed by the Bishop of Exeter to serve in churches across Devon at a special service at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 2 October.

Three other lay ministers who have moved to Devon from other dioceses were also licensed to minister in Exeter Diocese.  View a photo gallery here.

The new lay ministers were joined by their family and friends and existing Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs)  for the Annual Service of Celebration of Reader Ministry.

Joan Ridgeway was licensed at the Cathedral and serves at St James church, Exeter

Laura Ford, a LLM with the Netherexe Mission Community, preached at the service.  Beforehand, wellbeing consultant Ben Slater led a workshop around wellbeing and mental health.

Newly licensed LLM, Theresa Powell, said, “The day was so fantastic and everyone that came enjoyed it. I think everybody was overwhelmed by it. It was wonderful.

“Other than getting married and having my two sons, it was the most exciting thing that has happened to me in my life.”

Licensed Lay Ministers, are lay volunteers (as opposed to paid or self-supporting ordained ministers) who feel called by God, have been trained and licensed by the Church of England to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work.

Theresa is now a Licensed Lay Minister serving in Ilfracombe. She said, “We have a lovely team of people here in Ilfracombe and we are all very keen and excited about building the kingdom here.

“Bishop Robert talks a lot about love and joy and that’s exactly what we want to do. We want to build the kingdom and expand the love and joy to everybody in the community.

“If you have that calling it is definitely worth doing.”

There are around  200 Licensed Lay Ministers in the Diocese of Exeter working with clergy and churchgoers in communities, helping them to grow in prayer, making new disciples and serving the people of Devon with joy.

The Venerable Andrew Beane, Archdeacon of Exeter and Warden of Readers (LLMs) said: “Licensed Lay Ministers play a key and vital role in our churches, sharing their faith with others and serving them in God’s name, supporting and enhancing the ministry of ordained colleagues.

“Our Licensed Lay Ministers are involved in all aspects of the life of the church from baptism preparation to funeral ministry; from leading Open the Book in Schools to Anna Chaplaincy in nursing homes; from leading creative worship outside to developing mission in new housing areas.

“As we move into the future, we’re excited to see how we can further develop and celebrate the amazing lay ministry across the Diocese of Exeter.”


Licensed Lay Ministers admitted and licensed on 2 October

  • David Andrew Lewis – Newport and Bishops Tawton
  • Anne Theresa Powell – Ilfracombe, Lee, Woolacombe, Bittadon and Mortehoe
  • Ruth Naomi Jayne Ramsbottom – Alphington, Shillingford Saint George and Ide
  • Joan Florence Ridgway – Saint James, Exeter
  • Rosemary Anne Wills – Babbacombe
  • Sarah Alison Nichols – Paignton and Ipplepen with Torbryan, Denbury, Broadhempston and Woodland


Licensed Lay Ministers who received licences following transfer on 2 October

  • Anthony Cummings – Alphington, Shillingford Saint George and Ide
  • Frank Hartkopf – Bickleigh (Roborough) and Shaugh Prior
  • Ceri Lee – Dawlish with Holcombe, Cofton and Starcross