Readers share their stories
24 February 2016 by cofebirmingham

Readers share their stories

Readers—Bishop's licensed lay ministers for leading worship, preaching, evangelism, chaplaincy and pastoral work—continue to contribute richly to our part in God's mission in Church of England - 

Birmingham. In 2015 there were over 200 in active ministry in parishes right across the Diocese and in chaplaincies in hospitals, industry, shopping centres, and education.
18 new Readers completed their training in 2015, and were admitted and licensed in our Cathedral by Bishop David, with Bishop Anne preaching an inspiring sermon about the distinctive ministry of Readers in and beyond the church building. Here is what some of those 18 have to say about their call, present and future ministry;

  • 'Moha was born in Iran (Tehran) in a Muslim family... she was able to move to India where... she took her first steps to enter church. She was baptised in India and, after finishing her degree, she returned to Iran... She moved to the UK and on 24 December 2006 she attended the Christmas Service at St George's church for the first time... She started working with children as a teacher of the junior club on Sunday, and at services reading the Gospel in Farsi and English. She actively worked more closely with others in her parish and specially to help asylum seekers and refugees... Moha hopes that, as a Reader, she will be better positioned to contribute to the teaching and pastoral care of both adults and young people in the parish, especially the newly converted.'
  • 'Steve was born in Marston Green and has spent most of his life living in Solihull....He is currently a Fellow for the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick....(He and his wife Laura) are an active part of the youth ministry team at Tanworth-in-Arden, running a youth club and a discussion group as well as organising an annual trip to the Soul Survivor festival. Steve hopes that, as a Reader, he will be better positioned to contribute to the teaching and pastoral care of both adults and young people in the parish.'
  • Richard writes: 'For most of my life I was an atheist with a lot of Socialist leanings. At 7.15am one February morning as I drove to school in the rain, I met Jesus. He wasn't meek and mild - more a radical invader. The shock was, quite literally, life changing... I was extremely surprised after one morning service when our curate asked if I had thought about becoming a Reader. What at first seemed a silly idea rolled around in my head for a couple of weeks. I prayed about it and discussed it with my family, the more I talked about it and the more I prayed about it, the more natural the idea became... From decades of persecuting Jesus I have changed to worshipping him with every fibre of my being.'
  • Blessing writes: 'By the divine grace of God I'm the first child of nine children of John and late Esther Ibekwe. Having been born in a Christian home I knew the Lord Jesus Christ from a very tender age and have followed him at all times and God has always led me through these times. People around me have always said I'm a vessel for the Lord but have waved them aside because I preferred to concentrate on my circular work as a health care worker believing God will use me in that area...When my incumbent mentioned the Reader training opportunity to me I said to him I'll pray and find out if God wanted me to go for it...I strive to stand by the word of Go, respect the leadership of the church and relate positively to those around me irrespective of their background, faith or race. I keep praying that God will continue to use me to win souls to his kingdom through my deed, word and thought in Jesus name.'

With these and many others, in faithful witness to God, the church grows and is transformed by God's grace.

For more about Reader ministry see our website:

www.birminghamreaders.org

Martin Stephenson
Warden of Readers