Six people from parishes in the Diocese were admitted to the office of Reader on Saturday in Worcester Cathedral. The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, conducted the service, licensing the individuals to minister in the parishes they have been called to serve.

Readers in the serviceReaders are trained and licensed lay ministers in the Church of England authorised in particular to exercise a ministry of preaching and teaching. They undergo a two-year training course before being admitted to the role, which ends with the award of a Certificate in Higher Education by the University of Durham. After being licensed they carry out a wide range of tasks within their parishes and beyond, especially helping others to reflect on their faith and how it relates to their daily lives.

Those admitted and licensed were:

  • Fiona Carter who will serve in the benefices of Bowbrook North, and Stoke Prior, Wychbold and Upton Warren
  • Vikki Day, who will be admitted and licensed as a Reader and who will continue to serve as Stourport Deanery Mission Developer.
  • Roger King, who will serve in the benefice of Oldswinford, Stourbridge St Mary
  • Alison Martin, who will serve in the benefices of Hanley Castle, Hanley Swan and Welland, and Upton-on-Severn, Ripple, Earls Croome w Hill Croome & Strensham
  • Mary Phillips who will serve in the benefice of Amblecote Holy Trinity
  • Nick Stephens, who will serve in the benefice of Warndon St Nicholas

Bishop John said: “Lay Ministers play a very important role in our churches, sharing their faith with others and serving them in God's name. I was delighted to be able to license these six people to this very important role.”

Bishop Martyn Snow preachingThe preacher at the service was the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester who is also Bishop for Readers in the Church of England. Bishop Martyn spoke on the subject of leadership and the importance of working in partnership, saying: “As lay ministers in God’s Church, you are called as followers of Jesus Christ to put the interests of the least at the heart of all you do, to work together and to be leaders for others.”

The service took place in Worcester Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

See the photos from the service

Quotes from the Candidates:

Fiona Carter (Bowbrook North, and Stoke Prior, Wychbold and Upton Warren)

Fiona CarterI am a trained nurse and a mother of four children, three of them are now grown up. I am a grandmother of two, a little girl who I look after two days a week with my husband, and a little boy who I will be looking after one day a week from December. I am really looking forward to working as an LLM under the leadership of my incumbent. I am already on the rota doing various things from preaching to taking the deacon’s role at Holy Communion in the churches I will be licensed to. I am looking forward to continuing this ministry, but also being used in other ways as well, while building on and consolidating what I have learned. I really enjoyed my time at Queen’s particularly the variety of services held in the chapel. I also appreciated learning with and from the other students at Queen’s but particularly those on my course.

Vikki Day (Stourport Deanery)

Vikki DayAs Mission Developer for Stourport Deanery, I see my role in its broadest sense as enabling people to be who God is calling them to be and to flourish in their mission and ministry wherever that may be.I look forward to being a LLM because it has and will continue to enable my ministry to develop as I contribute to the life of the Church: in developing relationships with people through leading worship and preaching as well as being a bridge between those who don’t come to Sunday worship and the Church.I really enjoyed the practical elements of my training such as learning to preach, lead & develop different types of worship and take Home Communion.It has been an enriching time; where I have encountered a deepening relationship with God and the people with whom I minister.

Roger King (St Mary, Oldswinford)

Roger KingI retired in 2015 after 35 years working as a forensic scientist. What I most enjoyed about the Reader training was being part of a community at Queen’s that works, eats and prays together. I am looking forward to combining my theological training with my scientific knowledge to help improve people’s understanding of science and religion, and to demonstrate that being a Christian does not involve abandoning rational thinking.

Alison Martin (Hanley Castle, Hanley Swan and Welland, and Upton-on-Severn, Ripple, Earls Croome w Hill Croome & Strensham)

Alison MartinI live and worship in Welland, Malvern, I’m married and have two adult children. Having originally been an infant teacher I now teach flute and piano. I have been an ALM Worship Leader in our group of rural churches for 8 years, and also provide music for services. Alongside this, I lead children’s outreach in our local school. I felt a calling to further ministry a few years ago and was led to train as a Reader. Training has been a challenge, but tremendously fulfilling, both in the academic learning, fellowship with other students, and particularly in what I learnt about myself and my own faith and calling. I am looking forward to developing my ministry in my community expressing God’s love in my Church and Parishes through leading worship and in caring for the people around me.

Mary Phillips (Holy Trinity, Amblecote)

Mary PhillipsMarried to Dewi for almost nine years, I have four children from my previous marriage and six grandchildren.At various times I have worked as a shop assistant, auxiliary nurse in a hospice, teacher and German translator.Throughout my life, God has called me to various forms of ministry and service.Sometimes I followed the call; many times I ignored it because I knew what I wanted to do, but something always turned me back to God’s plan.Consequently, ten years after retiring from paid employment, once again I find myself starting new work, which pulls together many threads from my past life.The training at Queen’s has been very challenging, and I’ve learnt so much from my fellow students as well as the dedicated academic staff.Now I’m particularly looking forward to developing our parish’s work with children and young families, as well as leading worship and preaching.

Nick Stephens (St Nicholas, Warndon)

Nick StephensI came to the Church of England from a non-conformist church in 2012, and rapidly found roles being thrust in my direction, from churchwarden, to lay preacher in an Ecumenical Partnership. (All within a vacancy!) In this I discovered a calling for some form of vocation within the church. The arrival of a new incumbent helped me find a more formal authorisation, which came through a discernment for Readership. The course at Queen’s was brilliant, and intellectually demanding, but opened my mind to many different ways of perceiving what I had previously seen as a “simple truth”. I especially enjoyed the modules on church history, and on the formation of the doctrines that make the church what it is today. Going forward into lay ministry, I am especially looking forward to the teaching and preaching role of a reader, and taking the message of Christ out into the community.

ENDS

The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516
Email: ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk