Meet our new Reader - John Boyes

This week we meet John Boyes who serves with the Bootle Team.

Bishop James recently licensed 12 new Readers who now serve in parishes across the Diocese of Liverpool. Many of them have kindly chosen to share their stories with us. This week we meet John Boyes who serves with the Bootle Team.

John, 69, was born and bred in Bootle, a stone’s throw from St. Leonard’s Church – the church he still attends to this day.

John attended Bootle Grammar School for Boys and has a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering. He held an academic post in the Department of Engineering at the University of Liverpool for 23 years, a post from which he retired ten years ago.

John first came in to contact with church at age ten, as a member of The Life Boys and then the Boys' Brigade, eventually becoming Company Captain. He was also a founder member of a Christian outreach music group called the Crossbeats which toured the country for sixteen years in the sixties and seventies, spreading the Gospel to young people. As well as playing at Christian coffee bars set up by churches, John and his band also played at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Manchester’s Free Trade Hall and even the Royal Albert Hall as well as Walton Prison.

John said, “Whenever I talk about the band, I place great emphasis on the word ‘outreach’ because the words of the songs we sang (written by ourselves) set out to tell our listeners of their need for a Saviour and made it clear that Jesus was the only one who could help.”

John then became a Pathfinder Leader, playing a big part in organising the annual Merseyside Pathfinders weekend ‘camp’, which again built on his skills in outreach, “The Gospel was preached at meetings and the children were taught how to have their own personal quiet time with God, something which they could then draw on when they went home,” said John.

Next he became a Worship Leader, where he was heavily involved in combining his knowledge of computers and technology with music in worship. John was then asked to help out at a URC church that had been without a minister for many years, where he took several services and preached for them. It was after one of those services that it finally occurred to him that he ought to be doing that work in his own church as well. He then applied to become Reader.

John said, “It was during Reader training that I thought I should apply myself to mission after my licensing, and I believed that my experience with the outreach group would provide some good insights into new ways of reaching people with the Gospel. One of the training modules also required me to set up and run a Bible Study and write a reflection on its outcome. The people who attended were from a group that I had helped to run several years previously, and their enthusiasm to continue with their studies was overwhelming. There is an obvious thirst for Bible Study and Prayer groups, so now I am planning to set up a network of Small Groups within the church so that this can become a regular feature of church life.”