Readers are lay people who are licensed by the Bishop to teach the faith, enable mission, and lead in church and society. As people who daily move between the worlds of work, home, social networks and church, they have a distinctive gift, bridging those worlds and bringing theology to bear on everyday life. They work together with their incumbent or chaplain, and may preach, lead (non-Eucharistic) worship, and participate in pastoral care, funeral ministry, and exercise many other aspects of leadership in church and society.
Readers are volunteers – they receive no payment for their ministry. Many also have secular careers, and this often helps in relating the Gospel and the Christian life to the lives of the members of their congregations. Others are retired from secular employment and take the opportunity of the extra time which retirement offers to expand their ministry.
Resources for learning
Introduction to Reader ministry
Cathy Rowling and Paula Gooder, Reader Ministry Explored (SPCK, 2009)
An excellent and informative introduction for those considering Reader ministry.
Peter K Stephenson, SCM Studyguide: Preaching (London: SCM Press, 2013)
A series of short reflections on the nature, challenges, types and future of preaching. Chapter 2, Preparing to Preach, offers a useful overview of the practicalities of preaching from scripture. Chapter 4, Preaching in Context, considers some different contexts for sermons.
The book then goes on to look at some elements of sermon design including a ‘basic recipe’, creating a sequence, telling a story and painting a picture. The last part of the book deals with delivery.
Kate Bruce, Igniting the Heart (London: SCM Press, 2015)
An exploration of how imagination frames the way we see the world and preaching, and how it can be engaged to inform both. Chapter 5, Imagining the Preaching Task, is a helpful exploration of contemporary understandings of preaching.