We give you thanks, loving God, for all who hear your call and serve you faithfully. We give thanks for those who have shared their faith with us. We ask your blessing on those who seek to witness to your presence and your love. We pray for all who are seeking to fulfil their calling in life. We remember specially today those who are called to the office of Reader, fill each one with daily with your Spirit and your refreshing. Amen.
This session looks at the call to one form of public or authorised ministry in the church, namely the office of Reader. Reader ministry in its current form has been part of the life of the church since the second half of the nineteenth century. Today the Central Readers' Council of the Church of England is exploring through a series of consultations the role of Readers and are reflecting on the question ‘What is God calling us to be and to do?
Reader Ministry - Eternal Word in Local Dialect?
Watch the video and then reflect on this idea that Reader ministry is the eternal word in local dialect - how do you feel about about that? In what ways, if any, does it ring true for you?
We are all called to open the scriptures informally through our words and actions, as we saw last week. So the major difference is that opening of the scriptures formally.
This then becomes a Public or Licensed Ministry. All authorised ministry has what is called a 'license to minister', which comes from the Bishop. What the license does is give permission to minister under the authority of the Bishop and makes people accountable in their ministry.
A Public Role
Watch the video.
What, if anything, particularly struck you as you listened to these different Readers speaking about their call to this particular ministry?
One of the Readers talked about the role as being part of the 'public life of the Church' because in this kind of ministry you become a much more public figure and your words carry more weight as a result (preaching alone is a massive responsibility never mind anything else!).
What difference do you think the public nature of this role would make to ministry and life?
Make a note of your responses in your learning journal and on the discussion Forum.
Your Calling - Things to Think About
Read the pdf file in the Resources section below and think about the questions on page 44 (even if you are fairly sure Reader Ministry isn't for you). Ask and you shall find says Jesus - he doesn't limit the questions, and nor does he suggest we'll be expecting the answer we get!
What do you feel God drawing you towards in your life?
Spotlight on Doctrine
From the Admission and Licensing of Readers service:
"My brothers and sisters, God has gathered us into the fellowship of the universal Church. As members together of his body, Christ calls us to minister in his name and, according to our gifts, to be instruments of his love in the world. Within this ministry, Readers are called to serve the Church of God and to work together with clergy and other ministers. They are to lead public worship, to preach and teach the word of God, to assist at the eucharist and to share in pastoral and evangelistic work. As authorized lay ministers, they are to encourage the ministries of God’s people, as the Spirit distributes gifts among us all. They are called to help the whole Church to participate in God’s mission to the world." (Common Worship 2000).
Derby Diocese Reader Licensing Service 2019
Spotlight on Spirituality
Watch the video. Although it is specifically about ministry in Catholic Schools, the points made can equally apply to ministry anywhere.
What do you think about the comments on ‘formation’ and how it relates to our spirituality?
In what ways can you let your light shine so that you can make a difference in the lives of those around you?
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. All Amen.
To Do in Church This Week
Ask a lay member of the leadership team in your Church why it is that they ‘signed up’ to this role
(Nb – this will be good practice for your assignment 😉)
If you feel you may be called to Reader Ministry please contact the vocations team - there is a link to the page on the Diocesean website in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.
Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum.
Reader Ministry Explored
Rowling & Gooder