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18th October 2017
Congratulations to new Readers - Licensed in Lincoln Cathedral 7th October 2017
During the Service, the Bishop of Grantham - The Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain Admitted & Licenced five new Readers.

Photo: - Readers from left...

Helen Copson (Barrowby with Gt. Gonerby)
Roger Goodrum (Saxonwell Group)
Christine Collins (Mablethorpe with Trusthorpe)
Christopher Godwin (Barrowby with Gt. Gonerby)
Carolynne Hannabuss (Bonby).

+ Nicholas also Licenced as Readers on transfer from other Dioceses: Claire Sauer (Marston) and David Stark (Heckington with Helpringham).

The Rt Revd Dr David Court, preached the sermon - encouraging us in our ministry - to be 'confident in Christ'.
18th October 2017
Lincoln Readers Retreat, but only as far as Willersley Castle
30 Lincoln Readers spent their autumn Weekend Retreat at Willersley Castle, Cromford, near Matlock, Derbyshire.
The Castle was built for mill owner Sir Richard Arkwright, who unfortunately died before he could occupy it! The castle nestles in the rocks above the River Derwent in a beautiful setting.

The theme of the weekend led by Warden Sally Buck, was most appropriate - 'For the beauty of the Earth'. In between sessions reflecting on the lines of the well known hymn; there was time to explore the castle grounds, walk along the Cromford Canal, go for a swim, or just relax!

The Readers were welcomed to the Sunday morning service in St Mary's church, Cromford where Derby Reader Bernice Smith preached the sermon.

Willersley was a first visit for Lincoln Readers but they hope to return in 2020!

The castle is a Christian Guild hotel:
Accommodation, food and service was to a high standard. It proved to be an excellent venue with good facilities for a church retreat or conference.
Willersley and other Guild hotels are also popular for 'stay as you please' or themed holiday breaks and they don't charge single supplements!
Each hotel operates a 'Goodwill Fund'. If you know someone really in need of a break where circumstances indicate they could not afford it - Christian Guild just might be able to help.

Contact name John Marshall (Chairman Lincoln Readers)
18th October 2017
Readers reward Prayer Book Society confidence
Enthusiastic Church of England Readers from across the country attended this year’s special training day in London’s St Marylebone Parish Church, planned to help them make better use of The Book of Common Prayer. The decision to repeat the format of last year’s inaugural conference for licensed Readers was the right one, reports the organiser, the Prayer Book Society (PBS).

A key aim of this year’s course – Bringing The Book of Common Prayer’s Morning and Evening Prayer to Life – was to affirm the importance of the Prayer Book in the ministry and spiritual life of Readers while helping them overcome difficulties they might encounter when using it to conduct services.

Delegates from churches in locations as far apart as Carlisle and Chichester attended to hear speakers who included PBS trustee the Rev Dr Daniel Newman, associate minister at St John’s Church in Woking, Surrey and the Rev Dr Tom Plant, Chaplain of Lichfield Cathedral School.

The day started with a welcome by the PBS chairman Prudence Dailey and Holy Communion celebrated by the Rev Canon Stephen Evans, rector of St Marylebone. It concluded with Evening Prayer conducted by Reader Elizabeth Falding.

‘Few realise the scale of the role undertaken by Readers,’ says the event organiser, John Service, PBS churches and clergy co-ordinator. ‘These are lay people who have been selected, trained and licensed by the bishop of a diocese to give their time and service to the church in the form of preaching, teaching and leading worship in a pastoral context.’

He added: ‘During discussions with delegates it became clear that, contrary to the belief of many clergy, congregations rarely have a problem with the ancient language of the Prayer Book. Indeed, many value its distinctiveness.’

To find out about the ways in which the PBS can assist Church of England Readers contact the Prayer Book Society’s office at The Studio, Copyhold Farm, Lady Grove, Goring Heath, Reading RG8 7RT, telephone 0118 984 2582, email

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Pictured left, leading the discussion in London’s St Marylebone Parish Church, is Richard Marlowe with (left to right) Prudence Dailey, the Rev Dr Tom Plant and the Rev Dr Daniel Newman

18th October 2017
A celebration of Reader Ministry
Over 130 Readers from across the Diocese of Bath & Wells gathered on Saturday 7th October at the Blue School in Wells and later in the Cathedral to celebrate their ministry.

And what a day it was! With the Revd. Dr. Tim Gibson leading the morning session – and preaching in the afternoon – we were constantly on our toes as to what would happen next! This was not a reflection on the organisation, which seems to get better year by year, rather where Tim was leading us!
With a focus on Living Stories: a theological perspective , and Imagining Redemption, references to theologians such as Paul Fiddes, Stanley Hauerwas, David Kelsey, Timothy Radcliffe, Jürgen Maltmann or Alastair McGrath may not be too surprising; quoting William Shakespeare or Jane Austen, or projecting the painting ‘Descent From the Cross’ (aka the Deposition of Christ) by Roger van der Weyden suggested a degree of cultural learning; but basing his talk on Julia Donaldson’s The Smartest Giant in Town left many reeling in amazement!
This is a book aimed at children over 12 months, with the cover describing the book as: “George wishes he wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town. So when he sees a new shop selling giant-size clothes he decides it’s time for a new look. But on his way home he meets various animals who desperately need his help . . . And his clothes!“
If choosing this as a theological text surprised those present, typically grandparents or maybe great grandparents, then the surprises kept coming as Tim disappeared to change into his Giant’s costume and reappeared to gradually disrobe in front of us! Nothing too revealing, but . . . . . His shirt / surplice represented a new sail for a boat, his tie became a new scarf to protect a giraffe’s neck, his shoes provided a new house for some mice, and so on.
But the point was made, and made well. All the creatures involved in the story that George the Giant helped were redeemed; they learnt to receive and subsequently to give, and were open to grace in their lives, as we should be in our lives and in our ministry. Meanwhile, George was generous to a fault, giving, and subsequently receiving as well; but you’ll need to read the (excellent) story in full to discover what he received!
Tim then explained that we could only actually understand redemption through our own eyes, and in our own context, a point David Kelsey makes in ‘Imagining Redemption’, reminding us that God calls us and loves us not because of who we are, but despite who we are, seeing us in the midst of community, whatever that community may be.
While as Christians, we acknowledge that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, it has to be accepted that others seek a different sense of meaning, but we know that they do seek meaning in their lives. Whether that is through following Jeremy Corbyn, who has largely succeeded through his narrative of compassion, or football clubs, whether it be Yeovil Town or Spurs, or through something completely different, is immaterial. The majority of non-Christians are still looking for something spiritual, and only too happy to ritualise their passion; by attending regular events, by singing repetitive songs, by shouting for their idol, by reading and watching as much as they can. There is renewed hope that the world is beginning to realise that our life of faith, however ritualised it may appear, is the way to real contentment.
The challenge for Christians is to live with joy in our hearts, and to proclaim the stories of goodness and redemption at every opportunity; to proclaim God’s love for us despite being flawed individuals, not because of who we are but despite who we are; to remind others that we are intrinsically configured to the promised end; but above all to share in God’s joy for His creation.
And that joy was so evident in the Cathedral in the afternoon. With most Readers fully robed, and others in ‘mufti’, together with visitors, those to be licensed and welcomed, every effort was made to raise the roof – and that we did that with some wonderful singing. Truly joyous.
And a privilege to witness not only the licensing of Penny Ashton, Julie Ebsworth, Emily Scott, Sarah Upfield and Helen Weavers as Readers, but also to welcome Susan Deyes, Paul Harding and Hilary Smith to the Diocese from elsewhere.
In addressing Tim’s question “where is the joy in our services?”, there was joy everywhere and joy in everyone present.
Congratulations to the new license holders, and welcome both to them, and to those who have moved to Bath & Wells. If Tim’s threat, in his sermon, to repeat his ‘dis-robing’ of the morning, which he thankfully didn’t do in the Cathedral, wasn’t enough to put them off, then nothing is!


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  • Over 130 Readers from across the Diocese of Bath & Wells gathered on Saturday 7th October at the Blue School in Wells and later in the Cathedral to celebrate their ministry.
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