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16th April 2005
The Dioceses Converge
Representatives of Reader ministry from across the Church of England converged on Church House, Westminster for the 2005 Central Readers’ Council AGM.
Thirty-nine dioceses, the Army and the RAF were represented, and joined by delegates from the Church in Wales. As well as the formal business of the AGM, the meeting was an opportunity for Reader representatives from around the church, to meet each other, to discover and discuss variations within Reader ministry across the dioceses and to reflect upon possible future directions for Reader ministry.
Reflecting upon the day’s lectionary reading Bishop Graham Dow opened the meeting, commenting that we are at a time when the church is looking for fresh expressions; trying to grow a new church alongside the old. The need at such a time is for teamwork, and Readers are very much part of a national team and have an important part to play.
The theme, of the future of Reader ministry, was continued as the meeting broke into three sections (Wardens, Secretaries and Representatives) for discussion, and then addressed more fully by Bishop Graham under Chairman’s Remarks. Readers offer a unique blend of business and world views with in-depth theological training in their preaching and teaching ministry, and are enabled to undertake an increasing diversity of roles. Although there is pressure on Readers from both ends, ordained clergy and newly emerging lay ministries, it would be a loss to lose their role as extensively trained lay ministers. Bishop Graham’s paper on “The Place of Reader Ministry Today amongst the Developing Ministries of Christ in the Church”, presented to the 2004 CRC AGM, has been submitted for consideration by the Bishops’ Committee for Ministry.
The section meetings each held lively and eye-opening discussions on the current confusion and diversity of practices in the handling of ministry fees for funerals across the dioceses. This culminated in the meeting accepting a motion to request a review and clarification of the system of funeral fees and expenses which ministers are permitted to retain. The CRC Executive Committee was asked to investigate the issue and prepare a paper to be submitted to support the motion.
The new Reader website was launched in February 2005 and this was the first opportunity for general appraisal. It has been well received and a number of requests and suggestions for content and features were discussed and noted from the section meetings and general conversation. The meeting gave unanimous support to the formation of the CRC Website Subcommittee.
The following were elected to serve for the next five years (from November 2005):
Vice-Chair of the Council – Ron Black (Newcastle)
Treasurer of the Central Readers' Council - Cliff Harris (St Albans)
Warden Members of the Executive Committee – Rev Joanna Coney (Oxford) and Rev Nick Watson (Derby)
Reader Members of the Executive Committee – Ron Edinborough (Exeter), Andy Lie (Newcastle), Julia Francis (Hereford) and Charles Flynn (Sodor and Man)
Members of the Selwyn Committee – Ron Edinborough (Exeter), David Robbins (Southwark) and Tony Rolfe (Wakefield)
Members of the Editorial Committee – Usha Cooper (Oxford) and Christine McMullen (Derby)
Members of the Website Committee – John Marshall (Lincoln) and Roland Orr (Rochester)