Ahead of the Readers Training Day on November 18th, Keynote Speaker Martin Cavender Director of ReSource, tells us why readers are so important to the church community.
Why did you agree to speak to the conference?
Because I believe passionately in lay ministry in the Church; indeed, that we are all, ordained and not, part of the 'holy laos' of God and Peter's 'royal priesthood'. I have a particularly soft spot for Reader ministry which, at its best, can be the glue which holds together the community with its local church.
What are your thoughts/feelings about Liverpool and the Diocese of Liverpool?
I love it, without being sycophantic. We had a successful and happy Diocesan Travelling School with 'Springboard' a few years ago, and I made lots of friends who remain my friends. It is a Diocese of character and style which does not suffer fools gladly, and that's great. It's also been good to work with the Liverpool School of Leadership, which is (I think) unique in the UK.
What will you be covering in your talk?
I want to look at what it means to be a disciple, which is to say, an apprentice to the Master and part of an intentional community. The New Testament has clear models for us; and those models mean we need to look closely at some of our training and growing practices, and revise them radically. I believe discipleship is not so much about what we know, as about who we are becoming. My present plan is that there will be input from the UK and Africa, and lots of opportunity for reflection, interaction and comeback.
Why is it important that Readers hear your message?
Because Readers are at the cutting edge of the delivery of the Gospel afresh into each generation - or they can be, if they themselves are true disciples.
How important are Readers in resourcing mission in the church today?
Crucially important. I believe that, taken in full-hearted Gospel terms, this is the day of the Reader - not as clericalised lay-people but as leaders in their own right. I am struck by the number of churches around the country now led by Readers and Lay Leaders - indeed, I've just enjoyed a church weekend in Redditch where the lay pastor lives in the Vicarage and has led the church single-handed (with communion by extension) for the last five years. There is a revolution in ministry in the thinking parts of the Church of England, and Readers are right at the heart of that.