A Designated Lay Minister (DLM) is a lay person, recognized and appointed by a presbytery/district to serve in paid accountable ministry in the United Church. This program is required to be recognized as a DLM in the United Church of Canada.
Students in the DLM program learn through their whole being: mind, body, spirit, emotions, and intuition. Structured learning environments are lively: expressions of spirit are fostered, ideas are exchanged and probed respectfully, emotions are shared with integrity, new behaviours are tested. It is a transformative environment.The three year program includes:
Supervised Ministry Education:
Reflection and integration on the practice of ministry with an Educational Supervisor in a presbytery/district appointment.
Six residential learning circles (two per year), each of 10 days duration, introduce theory and theology and guide students in reflection on integrating the content with the practice of ministry.
Three courses are chosen to round out the educational program based on the learning needs and particular ministry focus of the student. Find out more here.
To Apply :
Becoming a DLM begins with a year-long process of discernment in your home congregation. For more information on discernment, see the document "Process for Discernment Appointment, and Recognition as a Designated Lay Minister (DLM 510)" at
A presbytery interview (and sometimes a Conference interview) will follow discernment. After the interview(s), you may be declared ready to apply for the DLM Diploma Program at Calling Lakes Centre and to seek a presbytery/district appointment.
NEW: EFFECTIVE January 1, 2014:
You will need to have fulfilled a prerequisite prior to seeking an appointment and applying to the DLM Diploma Program. There are four (4) different options for fulfilling the prerequisite:
1. Successful completion of a Licensed Lay Worship Leader (LLWL) program; OR
2. Successful completion of the Leadership Development Module (LDM) at the Centre for Christian Studies (http://ccsonline.ca/program/leadership-development/); OR
3. Successful completion of a lay certificate in ministry (at a United Church theological college); OR
4. Successful completion of a Prior Learning Assessment that demonstrates a basic level of competence in critical theological reflection. Prior Learning Assessments will be reviewed by an advisor who is authorized by the appropriate General Council Working Unit.
The applicant must have completed one of the above before being eligible for appointment to a pastoral charge and before beginning studies at Calling Lakes Centre.
Following the interview(s), if not before, please contact the DLM Coordinator (click here) for more information about applying. The application process can take some time, so please ensure you contact the DLM Coordinator at least a month in advance of the due dates.
Applicants are accepted throughout the year.
Application Due Dates: on or before October 15 and March 15 each year (in order to attend the January and June learning circles respectively).
Upcoming Learning Circle Dates:
2014 Learning Circles
The Learning Community - Monday, January 13th to Friday, January 24th
Organizing Community - Monday, June 16th to Friday, June 27th
2015 Learning Circles - tentative dates
Leading in Community - Monday, January 12th to Friday, January 23rd
Living Diversity in Community - Monday, June 15th to Friday, June 26
More Detailed Program Overview: DLM Overview pdf (updated April 2013).