150 Years of Reader Ministry

by Gerry Lynch last modified 06 Oct, 2016 03:30 PM

LLMs celebrate sesquicentenary at Cathedral Eucharist

150 Years of Reader Ministry

Photo (C): Alexandra Smart

Over 100 Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) along with friends and family, clergy, and church members, from across the Diocese, came together on Saturday 1 October to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Reader ministry in the Church of England at a Eucharist at the Cathedral.

The ministry of Readers, who are known in this Diocese as Licensed Lay Ministers, has come a long way since its beginnings in 1866. In those days, Readers could read the lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer, and say the Litany, and be involved in teaching and pastoral work.  Nowadays, in addition to the traditional role of preaching, leading worship and teaching, they exercise a wide-ranging ministry in their communities and in the workplace, forging or strengthening links between the Church and the people among whom they live and work in all sorts of different ways. 

The 150th anniversary was celebrated nationally at a service in London on Ascension Day and at a day festival in Leicester in July, both of which were attended by Salisbury LLMs.  In Salisbury, it was marked in churches all over the diocese on the Sunday after Ascension Day, and the service on 1st October was the final event in which this Diocese gave thanks for the sesquicentenary and looked forward to a future of continued service in God’s Church and the wider community.

The Diocese’s  Associate Warden of LLMs, Judy Anderson, who is herself an active Lay Minister in the Nadder Valley Benefice, said, “Saturday’s service was a joyful occasion, a fitting celebration of a significant anniversary.

“Bishop Nicholas presided and the preacher was Professor David Catchpole, well known as a theologian and also a Reader in the Diocese of Exeter.  David took as his text a verse from 2 Corinthians 5: ‘If we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you,’ and his inspiring sermon provided much food for thought not just for LLMs but for all Christians.”

Symbols of ministry, including a Bible, a baptism booklet, a Reader scarf and a map of the diocese, were presented at the altar, and Bishop Karen, Warden of LLMs, led the Lay Ministers in a renewal of commitment.

After the service the celebration continued with refreshments, the centrepiece of which was a splendid cake made by Fiona Dodds.

David Catchpole’s sermon may be read here.

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