Sunday, 10 October 2010

Celebrating lay ministry

There are a few occasions each year that remind me of what I most like about my job as a diocesan lay education and training bod; this weekend was one of those times.

Reader3 Yesterday Chelmsford Cathedral was full for our annual Readers’ Day service. During the service we admitted and licensed fourteen new Readers to work in the diocese and we welcomed and licensed five Readers from other dioceses. It is always a great privilege to be involved in the formation and training of our lay ministers but yesterday was a particular joy because Sandra Sykes was licensed to serve in our parish. I have known Sandra for about seven years and it has been wonderful to see her flourish as a Christian and as a minister.

This morning we welcomed Sandra as a fully fledged Reader in our parish services and she preached her first sermon in that capacity. The sermon was excellent; encouraging and challenging, with just the right amount of personal reflection and plenty of application for the congregation. Part way through I found myself thinking how good it was just to sit and receive from Sandra’s ministry, as in the past when she has preached I have been listening in my training role and assessing her sermons. The confidence and passion with which she spoke bore testimony to her faith and commitment to study and training over the last few years. I’m sure what I and the congregation felt in our parish was mirrored in the other parishes welcoming their newly licensed Readers today.

There is a certain amount of uncertainty about Reader ministry in the Church of England at the moment, not least a questioning of what the ministry should be called. Yesterday was a great celebration and reminder of the importance of lay ministry, as we rejoiced with a group of people committed to their vocation as preachers and teachers. May the word of God dwell in them richly as they minister to his praise and glory.

Bishop Laurie Green (Bishop of Bradwell) and Revd Dr Martin Kitchen (Warden of Readers) with the newly licensed Readers in the front rows at Chelmsford Cathedral
Reader2The new Readers and their parish clergy after the service

1 comment:

Sue D said...

It was a very good day! Thank you.