Saturday 2 March dawned bright and fair in central Birmingham as eight new Readers were Admitted and Licensed by Bishop David at Birmingham Cathedral and more than 30 others renewed their commitment as Readers, some who have been Readers for over 30 years. The bells rang out, thanks to ringers from several of the parishes from which the eight candidates came, and musical accompaniment was provided not only the Cathedral organist but also a band from St Mary’s Wythall, in which one of the candidates often plays.
2nd March is the day each year that the Church remembers St Chad, one time Bishop of Lichfield. Chad was known for walking, and Dean Matt in his lively yet thought-provoking sermon encouraged us all to be inspired by Chad in our mission and discipleship.
With Bishop David in the photo above are:
Mrs Kate Day Shirley
Mr Andrew Harris St Mary’s Wythall
Mrs Maverney Kettle St John and St Peter Ladywood
Mrs Clare Kimpton Baddesley Clinton and Lapworth
Mr Adam North St Peter Hall Green
Mrs Sian Nicholas St Chad, Sutton Coldfield
Mrs Wendy Sorby Old Church, Smethwick
Mr Michael Taylor St John, Perry Barr
Kate, Andy, Maverney, Clare, Adam, Sian, Wendy and Michael bring a wealth of energy, passion, experience and gifts to ministry within their parishes and beyond.
One of the new Readers commented, ‘The service affirmed my calling in such a positive way, both spiritually and through the support of the parish. I just wasn’t expecting such involvement from them, people really wanted to be there and with many expressing sadness that they couldn’t be there.’ One of those attending said, ‘The service was inclusive and inspirational, we felt very welcome and it rekindled my interest in the church. A beautiful service.’ Another was reminded of a verse from scripture, “Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.’ (Rev 15.3)
There are well over 200 Readers across the Diocese who share in licensed ministry alongside ordained colleagues, in parishes and chaplaincies. Some Readers also exercise their Reader ministry in the workplace. Readers are lay people, called by God, trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work. Training is over three years, the first year being the 3D Course (before selection), the second 30 Tuesday evening sessions with occasional Saturdays and a placement, and the third (after Admission and Licensing) a series of 5 evenings sessions and a portfolio to complete. Selection for training takes place each year in the late Spring.
2019 marks 50 years since Women were first Admitted and Licensed as Readers in the Church of England. There will be a service to celebrate Reader Ministry, and to mark this anniversary, in Birmingham Cathedral at 6pm on Sunday 21 July. Everyone is very welcome.