Although we have had two diocesan clergy conferences since 2005, there has never been a similar event for our lay ministers. However, it simply would not be possible to continue to provide worship in the over 300 congregations of the Diocese in Europe, and to continue to provide quality pastoral engagement without the ministry of our Readers. There are now over 110 who exercise this ministry seek by week and close to 20 others in stages of training. Clearly the time was right to give the Readers an opportunity to meet each other and to engage in some time of learning together. Whereas the clergy conferences have been fully funded, enabling virtually all clergy to attend, the Readers' Conference had to be self-financed, and attendees paid their own cost, although, Continuing Ministerial Education funds from Archdeaconries were available to some, as well as direct support from their parishes to attend.
The Conference was designed to enable the Readers to explore some of the most important aspects of their ministry: biblical study, liturgics, spirituality, communicating the Gospel and working as bridge builders and reconcilers.