Readers to be licensed in Norwich Cathedral
18 July 2018
On Saturday 15 September 2018, two new Readers licensed in Norwich Cathedral, and well over a hundred more renewed their promises, as they do each year in a Readers’ Day Eucharist that highlights the importance of this essential ministry.
Here, our two Readers-in-waiting shared some of their journey so far:
In 2015 I retired to North Norfolk from my job at the British Museum and my new-found leisure gave me the chance to do something I had long wanted to do, to train as a Reader in the Church of England. With strong support from my incumbent, Libby Dady, who herself had started as a Reader, and my PCC (Cley next the Sea), in 2016 I went to a selection conference in Norwich where I was lucky to be chosen for Reader training.
Then the fun began! The training, which takes two years, started with a week’s summer school in August 2016. I learned a great deal and, most importantly, made over fifty new friends, fellow students in the Eastern Region Ministry Course. The training has been demanding but also extremely engrossing and stimulating and the fellowship of the other students has kept us all going, as we have supported each other.
Training with ordinands has also been enriching, while the teaching from Charles Read and his team has been inspirational: Norwich readers are fortunate indeed to receive such full and rigorous training and to have such excellent facilities.
When I started I had little experience either of leading worship or of writing about theology but, thanks to the training and support I have received over the last two years, I have led some 50 acts of worship and preached at many of those.
It has indeed been a transformational experience.
Over time the niggling sense that God was calling me to Reader ministry became more persistent, but I lacked the courage to take the final step. Then came a totally unexpected opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy from my full-time teaching post. I knew that I needed to test God’s call by offering myself for redundancy and leaving the outcome in his hands. Three of us applied, and on paper, I was probably the least likely to be accepted, but to everyone’s amazement (including my own!), I was the one selected to leave. Immediately after receiving the offer, I heard a sermon on the text “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” and I knew that I had no choice but to follow God’s call.
Reader training has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have enjoyed both the theological study and the opportunity to train with those from other churches. I know too, that this has not been just an academic journey, but also a time of God working in my life. As I approach my licensing, I have a sense of excitement mixed with a degree of trepidation! It has been encouraging to see the ways in which God has used me over the last two years and I pray that as I begin my ministry God might speak, both to me and through me.’
Is God calling you to Licensed Lay Ministry?
If you think you may be interested in finding out more about Reader ministry, have a look at our website: on how to become a Reader and talk to others in your church community, including your vicar.