I’m not from a church family. My parents were not church goers although they would class themselves as CofE.

It all started for me when I took my children to church one Christmas. I realised it was ok! It wasn’t too weird! The priest was alright and I just thought ‘he’s kind of normal’. I just related to it and thought ‘ok. I wouldn’t mind going to church again’.

I then joined a book club and one of the books was the Life of Pi. It had a huge impact on me. The fact that the true story was nicer but yet no one wanted to believe it. I asked myself, why can’t I believe the better story? I always felt I had a spirituality. I’d gone to Arts School and experienced all kinds of things and I believed in an otherness, something more.

So anyway I had read this book and I had gone to this church and there was this vicar who is saying stuff and its believable. I went home and said to my partner that I’d like us to start going to church and he wasn’t keen. But we went anyway and the people in the church were really pleased to have a young family and it was really friendly and welcoming.

I was like a sponge. It wasn’t enough just to go, I needed to know about it and understand it. So I went and started Bible study classes and I joined the fundraising committees and as a result I gained a sense of worth that I didn’t have in other areas of my life.

My vicar at the time was teaching the Readers and he asked whether I would like to be a Reader. So I went forward for training. I was 32 and one of the youngest Readers in the country. I loved the training. It was fantastic being among people who were all thinking and asking questions. The teachers were so great and we got to undertake placements. I did mine at the Cathedral and as a hospital chaplain. In fact I am still a hospital Chaplain.

The two experiences were very different. At the Cathedral I dressed in a cassock and people would want to speak to you because they thought I was some expert in spiritual things. Whereas at the hospital I would be dressed in my normal clothes and I would go to people and simply as ‘How are you today?’ There it was simply about being there for people.

When I was first licensed as a Reader I did a lot and I ended up running the Sunday School for seven years. Now I do Evensong once a month. My life has changed in the time since I was first licensed and I now enjoy attending the different churches within our cluster and listen to other preachers.

I’m drawn to Ministry on the edge. I like people who aren’t too church. I like having conversations with people who aren’t in church. The type that are drawn to the spiritual but it is not church.

To anyone considering Reader Ministry. I would say I have found it better than I expected. The training was fantastic. The fellowship of the other people on the course and the opportunity to make lasting friendships is a real high point and the chance to get excited about faith. I loved the training so much I went on to do a diploma in theology.

Reader Ministry can be really fulfilling.

Because as a Reader I was born out of my community, out of my church, the people where I live feel comfortable asking me questions. They know I do something in the church and so they will ask and I can end up having some really interesting conversations at the bus stop!

I really love being a Reader.

My Christian journey has been something of a roller-coaster ride, in terms of speed, rather than dives or hoops. I came to faith only a few years ago and yet I find myself now in a place of, dare I say it, ‘responsibility’ within my parish. It all began with questions, Bible studies, joining church groups. My priest Derek Carrivick asked if I would be interested in Reader ministry and I (knowing little about the vocation, believing it to be simply more informed Bible study and leading the occasion service) said “Yes” – thus, my ticket purchased, I climbed onboard!

We, as Readers, have the opportunity to become accomplished preachers and teachers of the Word but also to be with everyday people ‘where they are’ – and that is my personal hope – that I may become someone who ‘Reaches Out’ that others may see God in terms of the relationships we share.