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‘The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng’1 says the psalmist. And fifty years ago women were licensed to proclaim and preach the Word – from the pulpit and the front of the church. This year sees another anniversary – twenty-five years since women were first ordained in the Church of England. Reading through the testimonies and memories of those early women Readers though it soon becomes clear that they not only paved the way for those of us who were licensed more recently, they also changed the culture and the expectations of the people in the pews. If congregations hadn’t already become used to seeing women in robes, preaching from pulpits, assisting at the altar, agreement to the ordination of women would have taken a great deal longer.
Some women Readers chose this ministry primarily because the way of ordination was closed to them, but then started on the road to priesthood as soon as Canon Law allowed. For others, such as Molly Dow and Margaret Williams, the call to Reader ministry was undoubtedly their call – distinctive, different and satisfying. There is much we can learn from their pioneering work. We are grateful to all who have contributed to the Anniversary section of this issue.
As usual, the rest of the magazine contains a variety of feature articles. Roger Clarke enlightens us with another of his articles on Key Greek Words, Tim Harle and Stephanie Hayton address different aspects of leadership, and Richard Appleton explores the (sometimes thorny) issue of Communion by Extension. Sylvia Walker looks at how we might honour God’s creation by welcoming animals, and Su Hallcroft explores ways of becoming ‘dementia friendly’ in our churches. Following this, there is an extract from Jon Russell’s book about the creative art of sermon writing: A Preacher’s Tale.
The next issue of The Reader will be exploring the Psalms, that great treasure trove of poetry and prayer covering every aspect of our relationship with God. If you would like to contribute to this, please do get in touch as soon as you can as the copy date is almost upon us. Then, in the last issue of the year, once we have had time to reflect upon Bishop Martyn’s vision as set out in the booklet enclosed with this issue, new directions in Reader ministry will once again be the focus. Copy for this will be needed early in August. The first issue of 2020 (copy date early November) will look at pastoral concerns, particularly where our ministry involves being alongside someone who is suffering. Do please remember though that ‘Theme’ articles account for no more than a third of the content of any issue – I am always delighted to receive suggestions for articles on other topics. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore possibilities.
With best wishes
1 Psalm 68: 1 [NIV]
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – FIFTY YEARS OF WOMEN IN READER MINISTRY
Gazette of Women Readers licensed in 1969–70
A year to remember - ANDREW WALKER AND SUSANNE MITCHELL
Dorothy Daldy - JEREMY HARVEY AND PAT ELLIOTT
A Reader for fifty years (nearly) - MOLLY DOW
A pioneer for women’s ministry - JEAN MAYLAND AND SARAH JONES
Reader ministry in the 1970s - JEAN ROWE, ANN LEIGH
A ministry in its own right - MARGARET WILLIAMS
From Mr to Mrs to Miss - KAY MORISON
Key words in the New Testament: Ekklesia - ROGER CLARKE
Second chair leadership - TIM HARLE
Influential leadership - STEPHANIE HAYTON
Communion by Extension - RICHARD APPLETON
All creatures of our God and King - SYLVIA WALKER
Providing a safe space for people with dementia - SU HALLCROFT
BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract: A Preacher’s Tale - JON RUSSELL
What is our calling? - RUTH HALDANE
Introducing Christine McCone
Obituary: Nigel Holmes - Clare Amos
Letters from Readers
Women in ministry – now and in the beginning - PAULA GOODER
Postscript - GERTRUD SOLLARS