Why did I do it? In my childhood church the black-robed Rector did everything - I longed to ring the communion bells thingy but I was a girl. Eventually I discovered churches where unrobed, unordained people stood up and did stuff. Blessed rebellion! I needed to quit sitting and start doing - but not kids or old people and I’m useless sitting by bedsides.
A voice nagged, “Be a Reader” - though I wasn’t sure what a Reader did. Then our Vicar announced his retirement and picked people to lead interregnum services. I led services, shaking inwardly. A visiting priest encouraged me to preach at Easter. I preached, quivering. I thought I’d better find out how to do it properly and signed up for School of Ministry.
When I got there? I heard words like exegesis, hermeneutics, eschatology … I quailed but learned to be unafraid, met them head on, used them in assignments and left them behind for theologians who might need them later. I found kindred spirits to share successes and could-be-better days - we cry, feel anger, frustration, revelation and, most of all, laugh together. I learned about God, people and me - and what a Reader does.
Would I recommend School of Ministry? In a heartbeat. Ignore stuff about old dogs and new tricks. I was 56 when I enrolled and now have my own black robes and the blue Reader scarf beckons. Whether you want to evangelise, empathise, sermonise or just find out where you’re called, just do it.
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