21 Readers and trainee Readers from the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar gathered on Tuesday 2 February for a day's workshop prior to the full meeting of the Archdeaconry Synod. Deacon Frances Hiller led the workshop in which the role of Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) in discipleship training in their congregations was explored in depth. As theologically and pastorally trained lay ministers, Readers have an advantage of knowing the challenges of living the Christian life day to day as members of the laity, in the workplace, at home, and in community life and service. They "know the soil" in which the seed of the Gospel is to be planted and nurtured and therefore have an important role, complementing that of the clergy, in equipping the members of the Church for active lives as disciples.
Deacon Frances opened up the theme of catechesis - teaching the faith - and introduced in detail a new programme produced by the Church of England to encourage deeper exploration and understanding of the Christian faith, the Pilgrim Programme. The participants all affirmed that among the people with whom they minister, there is a hunger to know more about God and about the faith.
The workshop also included some discussion of matters of concern or interest to Readers in general. Some of the topics raised were:
1. The role of Readers during an interregnum
2. The age of retirement and the difference between a licence and Permission to Officiate.
3. The ordinary ministry of a Reader to bring Holy Communion to hospitals and the housebound
4. How Readers can be more fully deployed liturgically, even when the main service is Eucharistic.
The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar is among the largest in the Diocese in Europe, with over 70 congregations scattered around Andorra, Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
|La Zenia Hotel, Torrevieja: the venue for the Synod|