Your ministry team

Who we are

The Okeford Benefice has a small but very committed Ministry Team. The Rector and at least one other member of the team meet for Morning and Evening prayer at every church across the Benefice through the week. Usually several parishioners join the Team to share in the prayer life of the Benefice and to catch up on news, issues and events.

The Ministry Team runs the worshipping life of the Benefice and we offer a wide range of services lead by priests (the Rector and sometimes retired priests living locally) and lay people (the Licensed Lay Ministers).

The Team is involved in the learning and discipleship opportunities in the Benefice and welcome inquiries about learning more about the Christian faith.

The Team also cover baptisms, weddings and funerals. We take our pastoral responsibilities very seriously and everyone who comes to the church with a request for such a service is supported by a member of the Team before and after the event. Our Lay Pastoral Assistant offers ongoing pastoral care to those who have been bereaved.

The Team also offers support to those who are ill or who are coping with life limiting conditions through visiting, offering prayer and home communion.

The Team aims to be the visible face of the church in the wider community and so we are involved in our local schools, social clubs, community groups, care home (and the pubs!).

The Benefice also benefits greatly from the ministry of various local clergy and retired lay ministers especially Mrs Sue Le Riche and Mrs Sue Rawlinson.

The Rector

The Rector

Lydia Cook

Lydia spent 5 years training for ministry at Oxford and was ordained in 1996. Rural ministry has been her sole focus throughout her ordained life and she has worked in the Dioceses of Peterborough and Oxford and moved to Salisbury Diocese 10 years ago.

Lydia has mostly worked as a self-supporting minister, meaning that she has combined parish ministry with secular work. She has done a variety of jobs including being a cook, running a pre-school and being a smallholder.

She is enjoying being back in full time ministry and lives at Shillingstone Rectory with her husband and two teenage sons.

Rectors do not have a specific “job description”. What they are asked or called to be is set out in the service when they are made priests. Below are some of the requirements.

In theory

“to be a servant and shepherd among the people”
“to proclaim the word of the Lord, to call his hearers to repentance, to absolve and declare forgiveness of sins.”
“to baptise and prepare for confirmation.”
“to preside at the celebration of Holy communion”
“to lead in prayer and worship, to intercede and bless”
“to teach and encourage by word and example”
“to minister to the sick and prepare the dying”
“to be a messenger, watchmen, steward, to teach and admonish”
“to feed and provide for the Lord’s family”
“to search for God’s children in the wilderness of the world”
“to serve with joy, build up in faith”
“to sanctify the lives of all whom you have to do”

In practice

Offering daily prayer (twice a day every day);
Celebrating Holy Communion – Sundays and midweek, in people’s homes and in care homes;
Supporting church outreach such as Messy Church;
Preaching the word;
Leading Bible study;
Working closely with local primary schools – by visiting, supporting the staff, being a school governor;
Preparing families for baptism and couples for weddings;
Taking funerals and supporting the bereaved;
General pastoral visiting and being visible in local community groups;
Communications – writing for the magazine, pew leaflet and website;
Administration – including PCC meetings and other committees;
Attending training, Synod, chapter, and pilgrim priests’ meetings; and
Offering hospitality.

Lay Pastoral Assistants

Lay Pastoral Assistants engage in the ministry of care, hospitality, practical help and sometimes the discernment of ongoing, more in depth care for people. The foundation of pastoral care is listening and lay pastoral assistants engage deliberately and intentionally in listening to others. They share in the daily prayer life of the church.
LPAs assist the Rector in the provision of pastoral care to the whole parish. The cure of souls assigned to the Rector is then shared with others, providing a better level of care.


Ms Carolyn Angelucci

Carolyn moved from London to Dorset six years ago. When she lived in London she worked in the banking sector. She has been an LPA for four years and lives in Child Okeford with her partner Simon.

Lay Pastoral Assistant

Mrs Abi Rudd

Abi moved to Child Okeford 4 years ago. As a mother of 2 she was quickly welcomed into the Messy Church family and is now one of the Messy Church leaders. Busy with family, school and church life, Abi was surprised that God called her to be an LPA. She has put her heart into supporting the ministry team and parishioners in the challenges and blessings we share in our lives today.

Lay Pastoral Assistant

Mrs Ruth Allen

Ruth and her husband Keith moved into Child Okeford in 2013 and Ruth retired shortly after that. She had been very involved in her previous church and very quickly became involved at St Nicholas. Church life is important to Ruth and she is very aware that there are many folk who need Christian comfort. Becoming an LPA is a way of showing God’s love for us all.