Recognised Parish Assistant (RPA)
If you want to share in the ministry of your church and serve your parish, you could become a Recognised Parish Assistant.
What are Recognised Parish Assistants?
In developing this role within the Diocese, the vision is to help to make real the Body of Christ, with gifts to share for the Christian community and in the wider mission to which we are called. As a Diocese we encourage and develop lay ministry from the ground upwards, affirming and giving confidence through ‘recognising’ a sense of call. The training currently seeks to develop lay ministry in the areas of either pastoral care, mission, planning and leading worship or work with young people. RPA’s share in the public ministry of the local church, as they serve their local parishes, working with their parish clergy, and other licensed ministers (Readers and Church Army officers) seeking to encourage and develop the gifts of others.
Where do I find out more?
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. Contact Angela Bailey, Diocesan Lay Development Adviser firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Who can do the course?
Participants should be commended by their incumbent and be supported by their PCC. They can come as individuals or as a small group from a church or benefice. There’s a fee of £50 for each person towards the expenses of the course which we hope that PCC’s would pay as a sign of their support and continuing commitment to these lay ministers. All RPAs are expected to complete the DBS process in their parish, and do at least C1 module of the Safeguarding training (more if their role requires it).
“The training encourages and develops lay ministry from the ground upwards. It is a chance for parishes to opt into learning with others”.
"Now I’m an RPA, others want to know more”
What does 'recognised' mean?
Recognition is at a local level, with the permission of the Suffragan Bishop, as is done for Eucharistic assistants. The recognition is for five years, and renewable at the end of that time. It is not transferable from one benefice to another, though there is a process for offering to be an RPA in a new parish if you move within the Diocese. A simple working agreement is provided to facilitate good practice in supervision, and short liturgy which can be used to commission RPAs at a Sunday service.
What is the training?
The scheme is suitable both for those who are already engaged in ministry and need some further training, and for those who are about to take on ministry for the first time through the local church. Usually, it involves 16 meetings, typically in two units of 8 weeks which are interspersed with breaks when we put our learning into practice). It encourages the vision of every member ministry rather than simply being a course.
What's the difference between a RPA and a Reader?
Quite a lot! Readers typically train for 3 to 4 years, are licensed and deployed by the Bishop, wear robes, lead worship, preach regularly and can potentially share varied responsibilities with their clergy. After the 16 week course, RPA’s are recognised by their parish or benefice for a specifically negotiated role. Those who opt for the worship stream will typically contribute to the planning of worship and be involved in leading worship alongside others.
York Deanery 2019
If you are interested in attending this RPA course please complete the application forms below and return to:
York School of Ministry
Diocese of York
Amy Johnson Way
or by email to: email@example.com