The latest cohort of four new lay ‘Readers’ were commissioned recently in to The Church of England in Lancashire at a service in St John’s Church in Baxenden by Rt Rev Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley.
Also present were the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff; the Archdeacon of Blackburn, The Venerable Mark Ireland; the Warden of Readers, Rev Andrew Holliday, who is also the Rector of Standish; The Deputy Warden of Readers, Mrs Ruth Haldane and the Diocesan Director of Vocations, Rev Nick McKee.
Readers are volunteer lay ministers who work alongside the clergy in local churches. Their duties vary but they typically help to lead church services, preach and offer pastoral care and support to people in the local community.
Being commissioned were Belinda Hornby from St Leonard’s Church, Walton-le-Dale; Fred Bridges from Holy Trinity, South Shore, Blackpool; Lillian Duffy, from St Barnabas’ Darwen but originally from Fleetwood and Sharon Collins from St James Lower Darwen, St James Over Darwen and St Paul’s Hoddlesden.
Bishop Philip said today: “The service was a wonderful occasion and it is fantastic to be able to commission a new group of Readers – an important role in the life of the Diocese.
“All the Readers have willingly responded to God’s call on their lives and are ready and eager to get to work in their parishes to help fulfil our ‘Vision 2026: ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’.”
Rev Andrew Holliday commented: “Before the service, we spent time together with more than 30 of our existing Readers at a study morning looking at making church as engaging as possible for younger adults.
“We were inspired to think creatively in relation to that age group by the presenter, Norman Ivison from Whalley Deanery. The themes of the study morning then flowed into the Commissioning Service itself.”
Rev Nick McKee added: “I’m excited to welcome these four new Readers into our Diocese where they will join us in our mission to share the good news of Jesus with the people of Lancashire.”
All pictures are available to view on the Diocesan Flickr site.