Students receive Bishop's Certificate

Special service as students receive their Bishop’s Certificate

A wonderful celebration of study and achievement took place on Tuesday 12 June, when 21 students who had completed the two-year Bishop’s Certificate course, personally received their certificatefrom Bishop James at a joyful service at St Peter’s Church Pembury.

The aim of the course is to give people the knowledge and skills they need to express their faith and explore their Christian life and service; it can lead on to further opportunities such as Licensed Lay Ministry.  

Moving testimonies

During the service two students gave moving testimonies about what the course had meant to them.

Chris Weet, explained how his stammer had been one of the obstacles he had overcome before beginning the course:

“I had learnt the hard way that if I was stepping out and doing something for God, then He would equip me and my stammer would not be an issue.

“Doing the assignments…and of course leading worship, helped to reaffirm God’s calling. It has made me realise that I am capable of much more than I originally believed.”

Yvonne Fowler spoke about how the process had helped her move on from self-esteem issues that had ‘held her back’ in the past:

“Personally, this whole experience has made me think about questions I really need to ask as I prepare for mission. It has highlighted how important it is just to be still with God, so I can hear His still small voice.

“I have learnt so much over this period and the opportunity to engage more deeply within the life of the Church is invaluable.”

Example of Barnabas

The service coincided with the Feast of St. Barnabas, one those named in the Acts of the Apostles. Preaching on his story, Bishop James said that St. Barnabas was an excellent example to emulate on such an occasion:

“Barnabas was open to what God was doing…he also had a generosity of spirit that is required of us for the work and mission of the Church. If God is calling you, take a look at Barnabas.”

The course

The Bishop’s Certificate is open to anyone who has attended an It’s Your Calling day – an event that takes place three times a year in the Diocese and which seeks to help people explore where God may be calling them.

Rev Jane Winter, Facilitator for Formation, Learning and Discipleship, and who helps oversee the Bishop’s Certificate course, said:

“All Christian people have a calling from God to know and love him more, and to serve others in his name. This course is just one of a range of learning opportunities we offer to help people explore what that calling might be.

“It has been wonderful to see these students grow in confidence over the last two years and I know they will be a huge blessing and resource to the churches in which they serve.”

Anyone interested in attending an It’s Your Calling day, or exploring the Bishop’s Certificate, should contact Val Butler at the diocesan office on: ‘.



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