The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will admit two new Readers to serve in parishes in the Diocese of York, during a service of thanksgiving and celebration for the ministry of Readers beginning at 10.30am in York Minster on Saturday 24th September.
Readers (often identified by the blue scarf worn with their robes at some services) are licensed lay ministers who have a leadership role serving alongside clergy to support people in faith and enable mission. Through their preaching and teaching and in their pastoral work, Readers enable others to grow through the Gospel message, and share in sustaining the Church’s work of caring for people in Christ’s name.
Those admitted on the 24th September have trained with the York School of Ministry which involves both formational training and academic study.
The new Readers, with the parishes in which they will serve, are:
• Karen Banks will serve at Selby Abbey. She is a busy primary school teacher and hadn't considered reader ministry until she attended a Mothers' Union Service at which an experienced Reader preached, and afterwards her vicar asked whether it was something she would be interested in.
"I decided to give it a try, especially as there had not been a Reader at Selby Abbey for around 20 years.
"I have enjoyed it (the training) and I want to thank everyone who has helped me and inspired me on my way.”
"I hope to be able to serve God the best I can and to minister at Selby Abbey and in the other churches in my Deanery to the best of my ability and to help others in their journey of faith."
• Liz Crawshaw will serve in Coxwold, Husthwaite, Crayke, Brandsby and Yearsley. A retired solicitor who describes her legal work as having been "a ministry of service", Liz describes the very heart of her faith as sharing the love of God and helping people to find a personal faith in Jesus.
"After retirement and a lot of prayer and questioning I began Reader training. It felt as though an enormous weight had been lifted from me.
"For many years I have led a home group in my village, and it is the greatest joy for me as together we engage with God’s word and build each other up.
"My training at York School of Ministry has been challenging and exciting; the more I learn the more I want to know and the greatest privilege has been to share some of the insights I have gained with other people.
For the future Liz says she is "looking to find ways to reach out to people in our villages."
"I don’t know where God is leading me, but I feel safe in his hands."
Diocesan Warden of Readers (and Archdeacon of Cleveland) the Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor said, "It’s always exciting to see people responding to God’s calling and moving forward into a variety of ministries. Karen and Liz will find as Readers that they’re part of a long tradition that is hugely valued and which expresses itself in many different ways in order to serve today’s church. God calls all sorts of people to minister - today we welcome a teacher and solicitor into Reader ministry, but they join a huge range of people of all ages and all backgrounds, united in serving Jesus Christ through his people."
The preacher at the service will be Julia Robertson, recently appointed as the Diocese of York's Start of Lay Ministries Adviser within its Lifelong Learning Team, whose role includes enabling, training and supporting those like Liz and Karen who are taking their first steps as lay ministers in the church.
The service will be livestreamed from York Minster