The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will admit and licence five people to serve as Readers in parishes in the Diocese of York, in a service at York Minster on Saturday 26th September.
A Reader is a trained lay minister, who holds the Archbishop’s Licence to preach, teach and carry out pastoral and other work on a voluntary basis alongside the clergy, typically in their home parish. People in all walks of life are called to serve as Readers; there are now over 200 Readers active in the Diocese of York.
Warden of Readers for the Diocese of York, the Venerable Sam Rushton, said, “God is at work doing new things even in the midst of a pandemic – it’s a real joy to present our new Archbishop with five very different people, each with their own stories of life and faith, and each of them called to serve God and their own communities in this special way.”
Close family and friends of the candidates will attend the service, although due to COVID-19 restrictions the public cannot be admitted on this occasion. Core parts of the service will be live streamed from about 10.20am at www.facebook.com/DioceseOfYork.
Photographs will be made available as soon as possible after the services at www.flickr.com/photos/dioceseofyork/albums, and may be downloaded and used freely; please credit Diocese of York.
Introducing the Candidates:
Anne-Marie Breewood says that the last five years have been all about the journey from her Roman Catholic upbringing to becoming a Reader-in-Training in the Church of England, into which she was received in 2015 after a process begun by two elderly ladies who encouraged her to attend St Everilda’s church in her home village
“I had never worshipped in a Church where I could actually have a voice! It felt like diving into a warm pool, and I took to it like a seal.”
Initially training as a Recognised Parish Assistant (RPA), Anne-Marie developed an appetite for more academic study. “The training in Yorkshire Theological Education Partnership (YTEP) has been splendid; I can feel the spiritual growth that has taken place from the academic study.”
Anne Marie is an accountant, married to Tim for 35 years with a daughter, Emma. She will serve in the Holme and Seaton Ross Group.
Annie Harrison describes her life as transient, following the beat of the Army drum as daughter and then wife of a soldier: “I can’t wait to serve God and my community. I believe my experiences have given me the empathy to be beside others in their darkest moments and let them know love.
“I have been blessed to always feel God’s presence beside me and enfolding me with such love in moments of darkness and utter joy. The words of Psalm 17:8 ‘Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings’ have always been precious to me; God as the ultimate parent.”
“Whilst academia is not my comfort zone, at York School of Ministry, I have learnt so very much and thrived in developing my knowledge and made new friends and laughed, a lot, along the way.”
Annie will serve in the Pocklington Wold Group.
Dr Nick Land worked as a Psychiatrist and a Medical Director and became involved in Christian Medical Fellowship, helping Christian doctors think through what it means to apply their faith to medicine.
A motorcycle accident was a major step in his spiritual journey! “I was 18 and suddenly finding all my plans shattered by a long hospital stay helped me realise that I needed a personal relationship with Jesus and to seek God’s plans for my life, rather than my own plans.
“I have come to realise how important it is for all of us to work out what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in our everyday family, work and community lives. My call to train as a Reader is to equip me to teach the Bible and preach about this ‘Everyday Faith’.”
Nick, who is an elected Member of the Church of England’s General Synod and currently Chair of the House of Laity in York Diocesan Synod, is married to Helen who is a GP (and a Churchwarden) and with three sons and a Grandson. He will serve in Great Ayton with Easby and Newton under Roseberry.
Ian Lyall describes his life of faith as “Like a tea bag – a slow infusion over time and the mixture is gradually getting stronger.”
Ian’s father and grandfather were ordained ministers so the slow process started as a “son of the manse” but it was not until he retired that Ian allowed the God-given nudges that he had been feeling to be addressed and to consider training as a Reader.
His working life as a rural GP gave him plenty of insight into the deeper aspects of life and opened a pathway in pastoral care that he would not otherwise have experienced.
“As I swap a white coat for a cassock, I hope to be able to share my slow infusion of faith and the Love of God with all who wish to come on this journey with me.”
Ian will serve in the Benefice of Harton (Bossall, Buttercrambe, Crambe, Flaxton, Foston, Gate Helmsley, Howsham, Sand Hutton, Upper Helmsley and Whitwell-on-the-Hill).
Sister Louisa McCabe OHP has been a member of the Order of the Holy Paraclete since 2012 and says that “Becoming a Reader seems to have almost happened by accident – but that’s sometimes how God works.”
Also in training to be a primary school teacher, Sr Louisa reflect on the new roles into which God is drawing her: “In all these things there is overlap. When I was 7 or 8, one of the Sunday School teachers told my mum ‘She'll make a great vicar one day’.
“Not quite right, Auntie Di, but not too far off the mark, in that (thirty-plus years later) a lot of what I'm called to is to share the love of Jesus with everyone I meet, sometimes explicitly and sometimes quietly and unobtrusively.”
She looks forward to continuing in service to God, and to the congregation of St Peter's Redcar as a Reader; “Vocation is a journey and it sometimes takes many twists.”