My Life as a Reader

Published on 8th July, 2013

Hello my name is Ruth and I am one of a team of two Readers in the Benefice. My colleague Geoff has been a Reader for forty years and has been a great inspiration and mentor for my own journey.

I have been a Reader for three years and it is a privilege to work as part of the Ministry Team in the Rectorial Benefice of Whitchurch.

Sometimes people ask me what I do, thinking that a Reader reads the lesson. Well sometimes that happens but the role is a lot bigger than that.

The Church in Wales website defines the role.

“The particular work of the Reader is to teach the Christian faith. Readers communicate the faith by:

  • proclaiming the word;
  • helping people learn and grow as Christians;
  • preparing and leading worship;
  • caring for the people they serve.

Readers equip others to witness locally and wherever Christians work or have influence.

Their particular role is to enable worshipping communities to make connections between faith, ordinary life and world concerns”.

I trained for two years at St. Michael’s College, Llandaff, evenings and some weekends with placements in the Benefice and other Parishes. I really enjoyed learning alongside other trainee Readers and Ordinands, supporting each other when things got tough and laughing a lot together.

My week involves working full time and ensuring I am prepared for my ministry work. I try to find space each day for quiet reflection and saying the daily office. My favourite time for reflection is out walking early in the morning with my dog. She’s a great critical friend and quite used to me bouncing around sermon ideas. She’s very patient when I stop and wonder at God’s amazing world.

Saturdays are often spent writing sermons that I have been praying and thinking about, ready for Sunday and ensuring I am well prepared for Junior Church. I am constantly amazed and heartened by the questions and observations of the three to seven year olds in our Pebbles group.

On a typical Sunday I lead Junior Church at 9.30 with a super bunch of mums and dads. We often have young people helping, former Junior Church members wanting to share their knowledge and time.

Our eleven o’clock service is usually Matins (Morning Prayer) and I will say the Office and preach a sermon based on the readings for the day.

Our Evensong service at 6pm is often shared between Readers and Priests so I might say the Office and someone else will preach. This is a lovely reflective service.

Recently Geoff and I have been putting together special Evensongs, which have been lovely with some fabuolous music and singing. Our most recent one celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation featured I Was Glad by Parry and Handel’s Zadok the Priest. We are currently working on a special service for All Saints Day.

I often lead our Lent discussion groups. Books featured over the years have included “Why go to Church” by Timothy Radcliffe, “God Has a Dream” by Desmond Tutu and Lucy Winkett’s “Our Sound is Our Wound”. This year we used the Diocese of Llandaff’s resources “Small Can Be Beautiful” based on the Diocesan partnership with the Church of Bangladesh.

I really love the variety of my role, sharing the gospel with three year olds to ninety three year olds!