Since the last post, when I encouraged Polly Pilgrim to blog more often, have I? No.

Mainly I think because I want these posts to be helpful and considered, and making time for that alongside the job, the business, the sheep and the Church seems to be a challenge.

So here’s a quick round-up of what is really happening to this new Reader:

reading the Bible in Church probably goes without saying, but making sure it is a biblical and sincere reading takes time; thenĀ 

leading services takes much more and is a genuine blessing – finally becoming just a little more confident that I can use three books and a folder and not lose my place while conducting a service;

given opportunities by my vicar to be a contributing member of the ministry team – a real boon compared to those Readers who are rarely called upon in this way;

there’s reading outside Church – at Churches Together events and services;

making time to attend more of the parish social events – fun but I have to keep a balance with the rest of life and the other people who matter;

and there’s Deanery Synod – not a big time commitment but much to share and wonder about;

both creating and leading intercessions continues to be a great way to feel involved in services and able to give something to the congregation;

preaching in this and another parish and at a work-related serviceĀ – results not always quite what I hoped, but helping me to understand more deeply some of the texts on which I preach, and maybe helping others at the same time;

and Christian Aid – involvement in the local committee means regular meetings and creative ways to keep people interested – helping others to organise a sponsored walk at present;

and did I mention the e-learning course? a new departure for the diocese venturing to offer those unable to get together at evenings and weekends the chance to learn and develop their discipleship together – a six month commitment this one with roughly twice-weekly involvement in addition to creation of materials.

OK a fair bit for the first six months, all good, all exciting and so much confirmation that this is more than I hoped for when starting training. Great thing is you don’t know what next. But I could try to fit in more blogging.

getting closer to preparing a ministry specification for lay ministry. We went through the details at a study day today. Serious stuff – how much time can I really put into ministry? How do I commit totally to God and how He chooses to use me yet remain committed to my role as teacher and trainer and developer of people? Lay ministry involves a lay perspective – if I overdo the church work, then I begin to lose a lay perspective and if God wants me to work for him through my jobs, I am shooting myself in the foot.
On the other hand I am serious about ministry, so I want to make sure I can give sufficient time to church work. OK I know God works through me outside church work too. But part of what I am doing by becoming a Reader is committing to an explicit ministry – time, activities, work which takes advantage of what I have to offer, but doesn’t stop me being who I am.
I guess it is less about how much time can I commit and more about how I can make my normal work roles as well as my parish work count as ministry.

altar candles

altar candles

The first thing is Advent. The beginning of a new year in the Christian calendar. A chance afresh. A time to look forward to a new part of the journey with Christ. This is a blog written by a Christian who is learning and learning just now. Who just wants to light up the world with Advent, not just the High Street. Not specially ambitious then…