Flourishing Church needs Readers at forefront says Bishop
In his sermon at the annual licensing service for diocesan Readers, held in Truro Cathedral on Saturday (October 4), Bishop Chris suggested that a flourishing Church needs flourishing lay ministry, with Readers at the forefront.
Over 60 Readers – gathered to welcome two newly admitted and licensed colleagues and three transferring from other dioceses – heard Bishop Chris describe them as a “blessing to the Church”. He praised their ministry in the communities they serve, their discipleship in homes and schools, and for simply ‘being there’ for those who look to the Church in times of trouble and need.
Bishop Chris – who was a Reader before he took the final steps to ordination – drew the congregation’s attention to aspects of the life and work of St Francis of Assisi, whose commemoration falls on October 4.
He said that everyone there at the service would make mistakes, just as St Francis did, but emphasised the importance of listening carefully for God’s guidance. “We are sometimes called to undertake something greater than we think we can do,” he said.
Bishop Chris pointed out that St Francis’ ministry flowed from his sense of time and gratitude reflected in the light of God’s love; and that today we have to learn to receive these gifts too before we have anything to give to other people.
“We must be innovative and original in our ministry,” he suggested, “as we bring the reality of the Gospel to those whom we meet and serve. We must be willing to go to places where we might not be welcome … to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable!”
“Although Readers are called to teach,” he concluded, “our ministry should not just be about imparting knowledge, but rather more about sharing a life reflecting Christ’s example that inspires others … we must live lives that draw others closer to Him.”
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