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On a Saturday in September I found myself in the cathedral, in my Reader’s robes and surrounded by other LLMs and clergy, as the bishop licensed eight men and women for lay ministry in our diocese. It was a joyful occasion – a thought-provoking one too as I could not help but reflect upon where my own ministry has taken me, and how it has evolved, since I stood where they stand eight and a half years ago.
One of the exciting things about following Jesus (it’s probably one of the scary things too) is you never quite know where he is going to lead you. How many of us can say that our ministry is developing in quite the way we expected? My guess is not many at all – though I would be interested to hear from you, with your story, if you disagree with that.
This issue begins with articles from our Chair, Bishop Martyn Snow, and Reader Training Project Manager Ruth Haldane about how they see Reader ministry now
and in the future. Ministry is, and should be, transformational – for us and for those with whom we come into contact. So the title of the new Central Readers’ Council website, and from the beginning of next year the title of this magazine, will be Transforming Ministry. Bishop Martyn and Ruth give background and context to these changes and throw a light on the way ahead.
Their articles are followed by some practical suggestions from Rosemary Walters for making this vision reality, and an update from Karen Senior on the innovative model of lay ministries being pioneered in Rochester Diocese. We then hear from lay ministers whose paths have not quite followed the expected route. Vikki Day has been a Rural Missioner in Worcestershire, Tracy Williams is just beginning her Reader training programme, and Sam Pearce, now in his eighties, finds there are still ways he can serve.
An important strand in Reader ministry is teaching the faith. So preaching is important – and learning to preach well is part of our calling. I was privileged, therefore, to be able to attend the Church Times 2019 Festival of Preaching in Oxford. Kirsty Anderson, from The Reader Editorial working group, came too so between us we were able to listen to everything. You will find our report on page 16.
As usual, the rest of the magazine contains a variety of feature articles – and this time they are all by Readers. Denise Peacock describes her role as a hospital chaplain, Roger Clarke considers the different emphases in the words Apostle and Disciple by going back to the Greek, Giles Morrison seeks for humour in the Old Testament and John Griffiths challenges us to think beyond church walls and parish boundaries. Following this, there is an extract from Sam Wells’s latest book: Walk Humbly.
The theme for next issue (the first entitled Transforming Ministry) will be ‘Walking with the wounded’; the magazine will appear around the end of January. Further issues for 2020 will focus on prayer (copy date mid-January), being part of a team (copy date mid-April), and preaching on apocalyptic writings (copy date mid-July). Of course I will always be delighted to receive suggestions for articles on other topics. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore ideas further.
With best wishes
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
THEME – WHAT NEXT FOR LAY MINISTRY?
Transforming Ministry (1)l - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
Transforming Ministry (2)l - RUTH HALDANE
Renewing the visionl - ROSEMARY WALTERS
Diverse, different, dynamic – lay ministries released in Rochester Diocesel - KAREN SENIOR
Missional, stipendiary, holistic and layl - VIKKI DAY
Following God’s calll - TRACY WILLIAMS AND SAM PEARCE
The Church Times 2019 Festival of Preachingl - KIRSTY ANDERSON AND RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
The Reader as Hospital Chaplainl - DENISE PEACOCK
Encouraging ways of prayingl - GERTRUD SOLLARS
Key words in the New Testament: Apostle and Disciplel - ROGER CLARKE
Humour in the Biblel - GILES MORRISON
Ending occupationl - JOHN GRIFFITHS
BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract:Walk Humblyl - SAMUEL WELLS
Introducing … ALAN MITCHELL
News and notices
Letters from Readers
Postscriptl - PETER CLOUGH