150 years of Reader Ministry celebrated

10th May 2016

Recognising the contribution of lay people to church communities from the past to present day

2016 sees the commemoration and celebration of 150 years of Reader Ministry in the Church of England. Readers are lay people, called by God, every week offering their time and gifts in leading public worship, preaching and teaching and in local leadership.  They make a vital contribution to the life and mission of the Church.

To mark this great milestone in our area, all Readers, past and present, will be attending a special service at Sheffield Cathedral on Saturday 14 May at 3.00pm.  There are 203 Readers in the Sheffield Diocese at present. 58 of these are 70 or over. The oldest serving Reader in the diocese is 92 and the youngest is 25. Every year, new people step forward to take up this responsibility and become licensed to work in the Diocese of Sheffield.

Since 1866, men (and since 1969, women) who feel a calling to a lay ministry of preaching and teaching, have been trained to assist in the worship and teaching of the Church. Readers are not ordained; their ministry springs from the working out of the gospel in their secular lives.

Readers are licensed to preach and teach in their parishes, to lead Morning and Evening Prayer, to assist at communion, and to take funerals. Many Readers undertake all sorts of pastoral work in their parishes. Some are also trained and licensed Children's Ministers, and many have also been trained in other areas of ministry. They are a rich and diverse set of people.

Giles Morrison works as a Clinical Scientist and has been a Reader since 2014. Giles likes to combine his passion for photography with his role as a Reader by taking shots at events to develop a record of church activities.  He also aims to encourage and inspire his community at St Mary Bramall Lane.

The longest serving Reader is Philip Fawcett of Wath Deanery.  Philip has served for over 55 years and has a Reader's Certificate of Admission signed in 1961 by  the second Bishop of Sheffield, Leslie Hunter. Philip said "over the years, while being based in only two parishes, it has been my privilege to conduct services in 67 different churches throughout the diocese."

Imogen Clout is the Warden of Readers for the Diocese of Sheffield. She used to work as a family law Solicitor, and then a family mediator, also teaching law at Sheffield University. She has been a Reader since 2006 and attends St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church in Sharrow. Imogen Clout said: “The Readers across the Diocese come from all walks of life and are a marvellous example of what some would call ‘ordinary’ lives, transformed and dedicated in a practical and loving way to the service of God in their communities.”

Readers within the Diocese of Sheffield, past and present, are invited to attend the service with a guest, but must book prior at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-service-to-celebrate-the-150th-anniversary-of-reader-ministry-tickets-23042850787

In order to facilitate online bookings for our events, we use Eventbrite - a third party service which is not operated by the Diocese of Sheffield. Details of Eventbrite’s privacy policy can be found at: Eventbrite Privacy Policy 

If you wish to attend an event organised by the Diocese, but do not wish to use Eventbrite, please email Lisa Gibbons at lisa@bishopofsheffield.org.uk

For more information of Reader Ministry contact Imogen Clout on 0114 268 6645.

For press enquiries on the Reader Celebration event contact:

Lindsey-Jane Buxton
Communications Manager
Diocese of Sheffield
Tel: 01709 309100
Mob: 07547 854911
Email: lj.buxton@sheffield.anglican.org

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