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At the beginning of June, I had the privilege of attending a consultation day on the recent report Serving Together. Heads of Ministry Divisions and others with particular specialist knowledge came together to share ideas, experiences and reflections. One of the themes that emerged strongly from our discussion was the need to communicate – to be sure to let our colleagues in other contexts or different parts of the UK know what we have tried, what has worked for us and why, and what has been a non-starter. Although certain approaches will work better in some areas than in others, the sharing and pooling of knowledge can only help to move us forward as we strive to identify the best practice.
This magazine has a vital role to play in enabling this process. The Spring 2018 issue will focus specifically on the role of Licensed Lay Ministers and Readers today. Meanwhile, this issue includes an article by Karen Senior describing a new model for lay ministries within Rochester Diocese. Mark Bick is a Pioneer Reader in Gloucester Diocese who describes the ‘Church on the Street’ in his area, Kathy Germain talks to fellow-Reader Chris Hudson about ministering in a foodbank, and Marian Carter writes of a specific ministry – in this case to children and teenagers who have been bereaved.
The chances are though that none of us would be in a position to do quite what we do do had it not been for Luther and his Ninety-five Theses five hundred years ago. And the Reformation that followed is remembered as the main theme of this issue. David Hoyle gives us some essential background to Martin Luther himself, then Monika Kühn talks about his translation of the Bible.
Monika’s article was originally written in her native German. Margaret Ives translated it, and has also written her own article about the relationship between her diocese (of Blackburn) and the Lutheran Church in the province of Braunschweig. Alan Wakely’s article looks at the emergence of the 1662 Prayer Book – a ‘national treasure’ which while it may have faults has never been completely superseded. Freedom of access to scripture and to liturgy are to be celebrated indeed.
Change can bring pain and loss as well as progress though. John Griffiths gives a fascinating account of the relationship between Queen Katherine Parr and the street preacher Anne Askew, the latter of whom died horribly, and Peter Clough reminds us of the artworks that were destroyed during the battles for believers. How terrible it seems to us today that people suffered death by burning or torture because of denominational differences. In those turbulent times, every Christian had to draw a line in the sand – to know in their hearts what position would cross that line and thus remain faithful.
Our vocation as Readers in the twenty-first century calls us ever to be ready to give an account for the hope that is within us. It also calls us to preach and to teach. This issue includes two articles based on sermons written at times of crisis – one a few days following the bombing after the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, and the other preached on the Sunday following the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Although The Reader does not usually carry sermon transcripts, these two were both written in circumstances that did not follow normal rules. They show how a preacher can respond to external events in a way that is both compassionate and challenging. We are grateful to Jane Mann and Michaela Youngson for allowing us to share them.
Finally, please do keep your contributions coming. Themes for the next few issues are: Spirituality (Winter 2017; copy needed late August), Lay Ministry – Where are we now? (Spring 2018; copy needed November 2017), War and Peace (Summer 2018; copy needed February) and Ministering with the Young (Autumn 2018; copy needed May). I look forward to hearing from you.
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality in motion – walking the Camino - GERTRUD SOLLARS
Developing good spiritual habits - CATHERINE PRICE
Franciscan spirituality and Reader ministry - ROGER HEALEY
Walking the labyrinth as a spiritual practice - JACQUELINE TIVERS
‘Soul language’ – the spirituality of words - MARK OAKLEY
Spirituality in later life - DEBBIE THROWER
A feast indeed – the Festival of Preaching - KIRSTY ANDERSON
Mud, mud, glorious mud - ALAN WAKELY
The money taboo - JOHN SHERLOCK
Ministering to the bereaved: leading a good funeral - SUZI TIPPER
Revealing the light of Christ’s love - HEATHER STANLEY
Lenten journeys - GEOFF BRAMMALL
BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract: ‘A theology of science’ from Faith & Wisdom in Science - TOM McLEISH
Lines from Lindchester - CATHERINE FOX
A Narrative of Hope: Lay Ministry and Renewal & Reform - ROSEMARY WALTERS
Introducing Richard Havergal
Letters from Readers
Postscript - ANDREW WALKER