From the Diocese of York
The role of Readers in the Church of England was celebrated at a special service in York Minster on Saturday 17th November. The Archbishop of York licensed four people as new Readers in the Diocese of York, and sixty eight people were thanked for their long service as Readers.
The Ven. Paul Ferguson, Warden of Readers in the Diocese of York said, “This celebration at York Minster was a great way to welcome our new Readers and thank our long serving Readers for all their years of loyalty. We have over 200 Readers in the Diocese of York, who lead worship in churches and help the good news of Christ come alive through explaining the Bible and Christian belief. Through their preaching and teaching and in their pastoral work, Readers help others explore the Gospel message, and share in the Church’s work of caring for people in Christ’s name.”
The people licensed as new Readers were Andrew Frost from Hull, Helen Gill from Cherry Burton, Clive Shergold from Middlesbrough and Maureen Andrew from Hunmanby.
Helen Gill said, "It was an awesome service! It's been a long journey to become a Reader, but now I'm here it feels so right. Becoming a Reader is a recognition of the gifts that god has given me - God is so good!"
Eight people were commemorating over 50 years as a Reader, including Peter Hodgson who has served 60 years as a Reader. Fifteen people celebrated over 40 years, and forty five people celebrated over 25 years of service as a Reader.
Clive Jackson, from York, has been a Reader for 52 years. He said, "Being a Reader means helping people get to know God, and showing God's care for them. Whether it's taking communion to people at home, helping with worship, it's all about communicating the faith. It's an extension of our Lord's earthly ministry."
Stella Vernon, from Hull, has been a Reader for 32 years. She said, "I'm part of the ministry team in our churches - I'm involved in worship, preaching, teaching and pastoral care. It's a real privilege to be a Reader and to serve churches - I feel God has called me to this role. We don't look for rewards, but as volunteers, it's lovely to be thanked for our long service and to feel so appreciated."
Pat Wheel, from Kirkby in Cleveland, has been a reader for 29 years. She said, "Being a Reader is part of my life, it affects who you are. I do preach at church, but 90% of my work is outside the church, whether it's taking assemblies in schools or visiting old people's homes. I love it."