Archbishop John has created some controversy with his decision to invite Readers to consider whether their ministry is really diaconal.
One of the first Readers to benefit from his decision is Pat (Patricia) Wood. Here she shares her journey with us, from Reader to Deacon. She makes the distinction between them very clear!
The Revd. Patricia Wood (known as Pat)
Ordained Deacon 11th April 2018.
Although I had always believed – Sunday School, Brownies etc. – I didn’t really ‘come to faith’ until I was 40, and struggling with an extremely difficult situation in my life. My promise to God to worship Him if He would look after me was accepted by both parties and I was confirmed in 1981- a wonderful moment in my life, when I received my first Communion, with my father at one side of me and my very best friend at the other side.
Spiritual progress was slow (on my side); I moved from Sheffield to just outside Scarborough to work as a carer in 1992 and married the love of my childhood seven years later. Eventually I offered myself to read in church and with the help of Revd Adam Reid found the voice to lead the intercessions.
Thirst for knowledge about the Bible and my faith, with the help of Revd. Ann Coleman, at the time Priest Director of Wydale, led me onto the Lay Readership Course, where I decided that perhaps I should share what I was learning. I was licensed in 2011 and was awarded my Foundation Degree the following year. The learning habit by this time had hooked me and I was awarded a BA in 2014 and have since moved onto MA studies – still in Theology and Ministry.
The possibility of ordination seemed to have passed me by after a stretch in hospital and I concentrated my efforts on what turned out to be (according to the Archbishop’s letter) a Diaconal Ministry – school assemblies, messy church, food banks, shoebox appeal, fellowship groups etc. The upshot of course being, as I began this post, my ordination to the diaconate on 11th April 2018 – made even more exciting when my vicar went ‘off sick’ only days later. God really will need to provide!!!
Diocese of York
4 thoughts on “FROM READER TO DEACON: Pat Wood”
Thinking as an outsider, having read this bouncy transcript, I am not sure that I find the differences between Reader and Diaconate sharply defined; unless, of course, there is a tongue-in-cheek element here about unacknowledged overlap.
The piece does assume a lot of background knowledge. Basically Pat found herself in a more diaconal ministry when she moved from wanting to teach and preach, to being much more involved in the community, creating links and relationships and identifying and meeting needs = typical of a deacon’s ministry.
Well done Pat! Your journey makes real sense. I became a deacon at 71 – moving into the Methodist Diaconal Order after many years as a Methodist presbyter – because for many years my work had been on the boundary of church and society. In my case in education. [I wonder what that says about the theology of a transitional diaconate?] I am all for our ministries reflecting where life has taken us – being a Christian is an exciting and on-going journey of discovery. I hope you find immense fulfilment and joy in your new role!
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Thanks for this comment, David. I shall post it as part of my plan to post stories particularly of Reader to Deacon. Your situation is unique!