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Monday, 18 December 2017

Diocesan Lay Ministers gather for retreat

Twice a year residential training events are held for our Diocesan Readers and Readers in Training. One such gathering has just finished. It had a more reflective and prayerful emphasis, as one of our trainee Readers, Simon Yallop, from St Mary’s Church, Twente writes in this report:

"In the first weekend of December 2017 a group of fourteen Readers and Readers in Training, under the very capable leadership of the Revd Canon Elaine Labourel, came together at St. Columba’s House in Woking for a retreat. The theme was ‘Listening to God’. With the help of a number of spiritual exercises we all heard God speaking ‘loud and clear’. 

It was a wonderful time of worship and fellowship, with a chance to catch up with news from fellow Readers. During the Retreat we were introduced to ‘Godly play’ by Reader Celia Patterson (St George’s Madrid). The carefully played out stories of Jonah and Samuel certainly helped us as we were invited to put ourselves into the story: ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’. 

At the beginning of the weekend we read the story of the how the wise men followed the star. They did not know where it would take them, but they found themselves at the feet of the One they sought. We were each given a small wooden star to keep as a symbol that we would be led by the Holy Spirit to the Divine. We were not disappointed."

Canon Elaine Labourel, Director of Reader Ministry, adds, “It was truly a wonderful time being together and being with God. Quite amazing actually”. 

There are presently 101 Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers) in the diocese with another close to 40 in training. They are key leaders who, together with our priests, keep much of the worshipping and pastoral life of our over 300 congregations going!

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