Recognised Parish Assistants serve in their local context, in church, parish, chaplaincy and at work. Rooted locally, RPAs work with the support of their PCC and alongside other Christians. We now have over one hundred people who have completed the sixteen session course. The course begins by looking at how we share in God’s mission – what is God doing where we are, and how can we join in? We look at scriptural models for Christian discipleship and ministry. Seeking to grow in commitment and Christ-likeness we look at Jesus as servant and shepherd, at ourselves as the body of Christ. After this everyone spends four weeks together on an Acorn Christian Listening course. These skills may be directly applied in pastoral work, visiting, etc and are useful too in our common life. Good listening is key to our growing in partnership with others who share God’s work where we are.

In the second part of the RPA course, members choose an area to work on: Worship, Pastoral work, Mission including Fresh Expressions, and Children and Young People. At the end, everyone agrees with their home church (through the Vicar or other appointed person) a role description for their RPA work. Usually the ‘Recognition’ happens in public worship to let the church see the variety of ministry that it is supporting.

The course is usually offered across a Deanery, and open to other folk in travelling distance. A parish might send a group of people, or just one person. There are RPAs in churches large and small.

There will hopefully be other sorts of ministry in your church – welcomers, baptism visitors, musicians, lay worship leaders, toddler groups or schools work for example. Many who already use their gifts in your church will find that the RPA course gives knowledge and confidence. There may be others who are testing the water of a new call to deepen discipleship, ready to play a more active part. RPA might be just the thing to help that call became clearer.

If you are interested in becoming a Recognised Parish Assistant and want to find out more contact York School of Ministry by email or call 01904 699500.

Please find below applications forms for applicants and incumbents for future courses.