This summer we have an extra member of the spiritual leadership team at All Saints as Nick Singleton joins us as part of his training to become a Reader. Nick has been a GP in Stretford for over 30 years. A change to part-time work has allowed him to follow his vocation in the church...
“When are you going to get on with it?” said Phil, a good friend of mine. In fact, he’s been saying this for a number of years.
How do we assess if God is calling us to become a Reader? I have prayerfully considered it and mulled it over. When I joined my home church (St Cuthbert’s) about 20 years ago Mike, our Minister, asked what gifts I could contribute to the church. I thought that I could maybe do some preaching. I’m not a showman; but had experience speaking to audiences about God upon which I could build, some dating back to my days at Cheadle Hulme School. I enjoy preparing sermons and on occasion, I have felt a ‘burning’ to express God’s word.
Of course, being a Reader is more than preaching; it includes leading worship, being one of the leaders in church so participating in the decisions in the church. There may be a pastoral aspect, taking communion out to people or visiting people. We are also meant to be involved in mission and in encouraging other people’s gifts for the service of the Church and God. A large part of it is teaching. I look forward to participating in all these aspects.
All potential Readers must first do the Foundations for Ministry course. Part of the course is looking at where God may be calling you. You have to look at your personality and gifts which may be natural or Spiritual. You have to look at things that may be confirming that you are making the right decision. I have found the Academic training and essay writing difficult and challenging at times. But none of this changed my mind about the decision to undertake Reader training.
Not everyone who starts the course finishes it. Sometimes people realise that it is not their calling or others may decide it for them. Three colleagues who started the journey with my group have dropped out.
I meet Liz, the Director of Reader studies, next month when the year will be reviewed and progress discussed. From what she has said, she thinks that those of us still doing the course will progress to be licensed. I think this is encouragement that I am following God’s will to do this training.
Thank you to the community at All Saints for making me welcome and for your support.
If you would like to listen to Nick's sermon from 16 June, his first at the All Saints' 10 am Sunday service, it is available in the Recent Sermons section of this website.