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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Readers from across the diocese join in celebrating 150 years of Reader Ministry

150 years ago on Ascension Day at Lambeth Palace, 3 archbishops and 17 bishops (from Southern Africa, West Africa, England, Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man) met to re-establish the ministry of Reader, These early Readers (all men in those days) worked on the boundaries between church and world as as a kid of lay order, extending the work of the traditional parochial system, as teachers of the faith and preachers. That ministry continues to flourish today, with over 10,000 serving the Church of England today.

To mark that great event in the life of the Church, Readers from all over the Churches of England and Wales came to All Souls, Langham Place in London last Thursday, Ascension Day, to celebrate in a festive Eucharist of Thanksgiving. 7 Readers from the Diocese in Europe attended, from Finland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Greece. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Patron of the Central Readers' Council, was in attendance. The Archbishop of York presided and the Bishop of Sodor and Man was the preacher.

In his sermon, the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, reminded the Readers that their ministry has "a distinct potential and a clear integrity, helping other people to hear and make sense of what God is saying to them in their unique place and time. You are trained in theology; God talk is your specialism, which is why the training is tough and demanding. It’s about being a person who can bring God into the conversation with people who are searching and with those who have lost their way. Being a theologian in a secular culture is, in the words of Archbishop Michael Ramsey, ‘to be exposed to the vision of heaven and to the tragedies of mankind.’"

The Eucharist included an act of dedication for the Readers present, during which they prayed, "Give us vision, give us courage, and give us joy".

We have over 100 licensed Readers serving the congregations of the Diocese. About 40 others are in the midst of the three-year theological training.

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