The Commissioning and Licensing of Readers
Awarding of Theological Certificates
Three new Diocesan readers were commissioned by the Bishop in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny On Advent Sunday , 30th November 2014: Mike O’Meara, Ms Nicola Rowan and Mr Jason Smith.
Award of theThird-Level Bishop’s Medal
Advent Sunday 30th November 2014
The Bishop gathers Diocesan Readers, participants and award winners.
THE ROLE OF THE LAY READER:
The term ‘reader’ is simply the English translation of ‘lector’, one of the minor orders of the ministry of the Church. In the Church of Scotland after the Reformation readers acted as assistants to the Presbyterian clergy and in a number of cases were given full pastoral responsibility for a parish. They were originally authorised to read the prayers, the lessons from Scripture and a homily and, after 1572, to perform baptisms and marriages.
In the Anglican church lay men (and more recently of course, lay women) have been licensed as readers since 1866. The ministry exercised by today’s readers is far more encompassing than before and liturgically, diocesan readers may inter alia read the morning and evening offices; read the Gospel, lead the prayers of the people and administer the chalice or paten at the Eucharist; and preach.
The ministry of reader is of enormous importance in the life of our dioceses and week-by-week Readers may be found conducting worship in churches. In some cases they are given extra pastoral responsibility and visit the sick and housebound and provide spiritual counsel in the absence of the clergy. They also on occasions administer Holy Communion by extension to homes, hospitals and nursing homes.
Our ceremony of commissioning reminds us all of our call to bear witness to the love of God in Christ. Together we pledge our support to the Church and the people in our parishes.
The Advent Candles where the light commences.
THE SERVICE OF LIGHT:
The ceremony began with service of light. The congregation stood in the silence of the darkened cathedral with readings from Genesis (1: 1-5) and John (1: 1-5)
A light in the form of a candle is presented to the bishop with the words: ‘Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.’ The congregation responded ‘A light no darkness can quench’
A large candle is lit in the midst of the people and from this the congregational candles are lit and was followed by the hymn ‘Hail, gladdening light, of his pure glory poured…’ as the atmosphere grew with the candles creating the soft yellow flickering beams of light.
The Bishop then formally introduced the service.
The Choir of St Canice’s Cathedral led the music and was directed by Mr David Forde and organist Mr Malcolm Proud.
The lessons were read by Ms Nicola Rowan and Mr Jason Smith. The Gospel was read by the Revd Canon Barbara Fryday, Warden of Readers.
The Bishop, the Warden of Readers and the Dean of Leighin along with the newly commissioned Diocesan Readers and those who were awarded certificates of academic awards: Barbara Buckley, Patricia Cobbe, Audrey Clarke-Gordon, John Jarvis, Folayan Iyiola Lawal, Susan Luke, Mike O’Meara, Nicola Rowan and Tom Wheatley also Emma Purser who was presented with The Bishop’s inaugural Third Level Medal – all among the atmosphere of shafts of light.
The sermon was given by the Very Revd Gerald Field, Dean of Cashel who began by challenging the candidates why they had been ‘called’. This would often apply to anyone getting into difficulties and asking God why and never receiving an answer. Whether it to be ordained or diocesan reader ministry; whether it be as a churchwarden, member of the select vestry, Sunday school or youth leader……..whatever one’s particular ministry within the family of the Church may be, there must surely have been a time when everyone has all wondered, ‘Why me?’
And directly addressing Mike, Nicola and Jason, and those of who have been or will be Commissioned in one’s own Dioceses, may well have asked that question already during study and in leading of worship, in preparation for the ministry to which all have been called by God and his Church, and for which all are being commissioned.
This was Advent Sunday beginning the season in preparation for celebration of Christ’s coming and also preparing for his coming again.
It’s during Advent that there is reflection on those whom God sent, over the centuries, to prepare for His first coming; and, as these weeks will show, they were people to whom were seldom give a second glance such as the prophets, John the Baptist – all a rag-bag lot! So it is more the potential one has to become the person God needs rather than the ‘somebody’ one might be. It is also not what a person has but what he might give how there is the opportunity to respond and so realise that potential. During the service the candidates will all be asked to give of their time, talents and ability in this office and work to the glory of God and the welfare of his church and by God’s grace it is His gift to them and, like the ministry to which they are called, should be valued, cherished and never taken for granted.
Finally the Dean reminded the congregation that the ‘call’ is for everyone in different ways and to pray for that Grace and to bear witness to the love of God in Christ. It is not others who send but each person who offers himself or herself in their own way and for readers and people alike to say ‘Here am I, Lord, send me!
Presentation of candidates:
Following the creed the candidate readers, Jason Smith, Mike O’Meara and Nicola Rowan, are presented to the Bishop by the warden of readers the Revd Canon Barbara Fryday. The Declaration was signed by the candidate readers and was read by the Bishop.
The candidates promised to give of their time and talents to the best of their ability in this office and work, to the glory of God and the welfare of his church. And so the Bishop admitted the three candidates as readers and presented them to the congregation.
The new Readers are presented to the congregation.
The collection went to benefit the Bishop’s Ministry Fund, which includes in its task the support of training for Readership and other lay ministries.
During the celebration of Communion the new readers exercised their new ministries.
After the Service, certificates of academic awards were presented to Barbara Buckley, Patricia Cobbe, Audrey Clarke-Gordon, John Jarvis, Folayan iyiola Lawal, Susan Luke,
Mike O’Meara, Nicola Rowan and Tom Wheatley.
The Bishop’s inaugural Third Level Medal was also awarded to Emma Purser.
Refreshments were then served in the cathedral.
Wexford award winner Folayan iyiola Lawal flanked by his clergy the Revd Canon Arthur Minon and the Revd Nicola Halford.
Emma Purser who was also awarded the Bishop’s inaugural Third Level Medal.