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In this, the first issue of The Reader for 2018, we look at who we are as Readers, and where we might be going. First, I am delighted to be able to publish the paper on ‘The future of Reader ministry’ by Bishop Martyn Snow, Chair of the Central Readers’ Council. This is an important item which sets the scene for the debate that will follow.
Dr Esther Elliott’s name will be familiar to many. A Reader herself, she has worked extensively on the interlinking roles and gifts of members of any ministry team as her article about the ‘Serving together’ report demonstrates. This is followed by two more articles, also by Readers (Carrie Myers and John Griffiths) looking at different aspects of the Reader’s role and the distinct contribution we make to ministry.
The theme of this issue makes it a particularly appropriate one in which to introduce a new regular feature: ‘Reader ministry in context’. The idea is to give a Reader space to talk about the shape of his or her ministry. Each of those ministries will be unique as they involve the individual gifts and personality of the Reader concerned and the particular context in which they are used. Jim Pettifer, a Reader serving across twelve churches on the beautiful Jurassic coast, tells us about the joys and challenges of his ministry. If you would like to tell other Readers about your own ministry, do please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The feature articles that follow this item cover a wide variety of topics. Peter Rainford demonstrates a very different type of ministry – urban and collaborative – in Doncaster. Roger Clarke, a Reader Emeritus with a classical background, shows why going back to the original language in which the scriptures were written can be illuminating. Picking up the theme of the previous issue, Jacki Thomas brings her experience as a hospital chaplain to bear on an exploration of what it is to be spiritual and Alison Hassall explains how spiritual direction and Reader ministry can be complementary and mutually supportive vocations. Newly licensed Reader Elizabeth Burren writes about that worry of not being good enough – a feeling with which many of us will be all too familiar. And finally, Richard Bartlett from USPG encourages us to ‘Be inspired by the world church’.
In addition to the regular review pages, our ‘Books and resources’ section in this issue features an extract from Messy Church does Science by ‘Dr Dave’ Gregory. The later pages include another contribution from Rosemary Walters on Renewal & Reform, a continuation of our ‘Introducing’ feature, CRC news and letters and, on the inside back cover, an imaginative response to a healing encounter with Jesus by poet Catherine James.
No magazine can thrive without good quality contributions though, and I am grateful to everyone who sends me articles. Please do keep writing! Themes for the rest of this year are: War and Peace (Summer 2018; copy needed by mid-February 2018), Ministering with the Young (Autumn 2018; copy needed mid-May) and Preaching on Paul (Winter 2018; copy needed by the first week in August). I look forward to hearing from you.
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
THEME – LAY MINISTRY
The future for Reader ministry - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
‘Serving Together’ and lay ministry - ESTHER ELLIOTT
Should we still have Reader ministry? - CARRIE MYERS
Towards a theology of Lay and Reader ministry - JOHN GRIFFITHS
Reader ministry in context - JIM PETTIFER
Growing in partnership - PETER RAINFORD
It’s all Greek to me! - ROGER CLARKE
The importance of the spiritual - JACKI THOMAS
Spiritual direction and Reader ministry – how do they fit? - ALISON HASSALL
Good enough for ministry? - ELIZABETH BURREN
Be inspired by the world church - RICHARD BARTLETTBOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract: Messy Church does Science - DAVID GREGORY
Cross-currents or going with the tide? - STEPHEN PLATTEN
Books for Lent
A narrative of hope: Lay Ministry and Renewal & Reform - ROSEMARY WALTERS
Introducing Susanne Mitchell
Celebrating a century!
Letters from Readers
Daughter of Jairus - Catherine James