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23rd January 2009
Welcome to Bishop Robert
New Chair for Central Readers’ Council
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have jointly appointed the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, to chair the Central Readers’ Council with effect from the end of April 2009. Bishop Robert will succeed the Rt Revd Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, who is retiring this year.
Readers are lay Christians who are trained and licensed by the Church of England to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work. Bishop Robert will oversee the work of the Council which looks after all issues relating to the work and ministry of more than 10,000 Readers who currently serve the Church.
Bishop Robert said: “Readers play a vital role in parishes up and down the country and I have seen at first hand the immense contribution they make to building up the local worshipping Christian community in many ways. To be invited to chair the body that is charged with supporting Readers’ development, fostering a sense of community between them and raising their profile within the Church is an honour and a task I am delighted to accept.”
The Council exists as a separate charity. Its Secretary and Associate Secretary are provided with office facilities within the Ministry Division of the Archbishops’ Council, and they contribute to the life of the division. Day-to-day business is handled by its Executive Committee, which also arranges periodic national conferences and training events and liaises closely with the National Moderator for Reader Training, and publishes occasional papers dealing with subjects of current interest to Readers and the wider Church.
The Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and Chair of the Ministry Division of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “Bishop Robert will take on a busy agenda with this new role, particularly in relation to the implementation of the recommendations of the recent report on Reader Ministry. He has my best wishes and prayers as he takes over from the Bishop of Carlisle, who has done much to support the development of Reader Ministry across the Church. Any bishop will attest to the value of Readers within his diocese and, from the wider perspective of the Ministry Division, we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Central Readers’ Council to affirm the key role Readers play in the ministry of the Church.”
Canon Ron Black, Vice-Chair of the Readers’ Council, comments: “The appointment of Bishop Robert Paterson will I am sure, from his background, open a new chapter in the history of Reader Ministry. I look forward to working with him and discussing the future development of ongoing projects and also laying new foundations on which to build up this very important part of the Church’s mission. Although Reader Ministry flourishes in many places there is still much work to be done in creating understanding of, and affirming the role it plays in so many aspects in the life of the Church and the secular world. I welcome Bishop Robert as our Chair and assure him of my support and prayers in this role."