DEACONS AND READERS: letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor, Church Times 16 March 2018

Patterns of ministry in the C of E

From the Revd Gill Kimber

Sir, — Nigel Holmes (Letters, 9 March) writes of Readers’ being “encouraged to move seamlessly to ordained ministry unless they wished to stay lay”.

He is, I think, missing the point. Dr Sentamu’s bold initiative is less about ordained and lay ministries than about the distinctive aspects of the callings of the Reader and the vocational deacon. Readers in York are being encouraged to consider whether their current ministries are more akin to those of the diaconate. Do they find themselves primarily focused in the community outside the church, characteristic of the outward-reaching, missional, and developmental ministry of the deacon?

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Or are they primarily focused on the teaching and preaching ministry of the church, and the building up of people in the faith, characteristic of Reader ministry?

Over the years, many Readers have recognised that in fact they are deacons at heart. The main reason that they did not become deacons was that they were never told that this was an option for them. Now is the time to offer them this opportunity.

Warden, College of St Philip the Deacon, Diocese of Exeter

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