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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Workshop for Readers and Readers in Training in Málaga

10 readers and readers in training from Costa del Sol East and West, Madrid, Lisbon, Monaco. Torrevieja, Aquitaine and Pau gathered at the Casa de Espiritualidad of the Diocese of Málaga from 24 to 26 February for a training course on bereavement and funeral ministry. The keynote speakers were the Revd Peter Moger, the Church of England’s national liturgy advisor and the Revd Canon Hugh Broad, the Area Dean of Gibraltar, supported by the Revd Ulla Monberg, the Diocesan Director of Training. The workshop covered many areas related to the pastoral and liturgical ministry around death, including:

• The history of Christian funeral rites, including developments in Anglicanism since the reformation
• The purpose of the funeral liturgy, and who funerals are for
• The grieving process
• The liturgical resources for funerals, authorised and commended for use in the Church of England
• Issues in hymnody and music
• Practical aspects to presiding at funeral services
• The newer provisions for the various moments surrounding death apart from the funeral itself
• Preaching at funerals
• Memorial services and the celebration of All Souls’ Tide

Daily morning, evening and night prayer and the eucharist undergirded the life of the workshop.

This is the third such event in the past 2 years. As in earlier workshops the participants expressed how much they value not only the learning, worship and exchange of experiences but the building of a community and network of mutual support for their minsitries. "Meetings like this are so valuable because we realise we are not alone in our ministry”, said one reader from Spain.

During a session chaired by the Director of Training, the participants reflected on more general matters concerning reader ministry in the diocese. Topics for future workshops were proposed as well as a residential conference for all readers and readers in training, perhaps in 2011. The possible change in terminology that the Church of England is considering was discussed and received a generally positive response, that the name of this ministry be changed from “reader” to “licensed lay minister”.

There are now over 100 licensed readers in the Diocese and about another 35 in training. The Diocese in Europe is grateful for the ministry of her readers, without which, the pastoral ministry in our over 270 congregations would be impossible to sustain.

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