Meet our new Readers - Polly and Ray Glenn

Bishop James licensed twelve new Readers this year, and many of them have kindly agreed to share their stories with us. In the last of our Reader profiles we meet Polly and Ray Glenn, both of whom serve at Netherton St Oswald.

Polly and Ray have been married for 30 years this October and have two daughters and 1 grandchild. They met at Portsmouth university 32 years ago, marrying, before moving to Liverpool to pursue their careers – Polly as a pharmacist and Ray as a school teacher. Polly is originally from Worcester and Ray is from Hythe in the New Forest. Ray was a server at St John's Hythe where Bishop David was the vicar.

Ray has taught at St Oswald’s school Netherton for 17 years, first becoming a parent governor and then taking a degree in education to work in the school. Ray has been involved with church for approximately 20 years and has a particular interest in Children's ministry.

Ray’s time at St Oswald’s School brought him in to regular contact with church, during which time his calling to Reader Ministry began to grow. Ray said "Working with children gives a wonderful insight to how they see God and religion; I was once told that God's name was Harold (hallowed be his name)!" Ray runs a children's church every Monday with up to 40 children attending and he also hopes to set up Cafe Churches in and around Netherton with help from other members of St Oswald's.

Ray added: "I look forward to working with our vicar in bereavement counselling and funeral ministry, and continuing working with children."

Polly has been involved with church since she was a little girl, and she says that her job as a pharmacist has always involved a certain amount of pastoral care, which she has developed over the years, and which has also included her going into prisons.

Polly said: “I have daily contact with people facing addictions and various other issues that affect their wellbeing. Over the years I have got to know a lot of them very well, and when they have asked me to, I have offered them a listening ear or counselling on various life matters. It has given me a real insight in to the issues faced daily by those who may be in poverty, who have addictions or face homelessness.”

Polly’s calling to serve those who are marginalised and would like to set up a soup kitchen at Netherton St Oswald. She has also recently started as a Street Pastor in Liverpool City centre and plans to lead an Emmaus course.

Polly’s vicar Deb suggested that she look at Reader Ministry – and Polly then found out that Ray was also thinking of becoming a Reader after taking the Foundation course.

Polly said: “We prayed about it together. It was a scary thought, going back to education, but we found that most people on the course were in the same boat and we all supported each other throughout – and continue to do so.” Polly and Ray have also received support from friends and family as well as their congregation.

Polly will continue her job in the pharmacy alongside her ministry. “I give Christmas cards to my customers, and for some, that is the only one that they get. Many of them are genuinely overjoyed. It reminds us that we often take things for granted. When I started the Reader course, my customers took a genuine interest in me – people with their own problems and issues wanted to know how I was getting on - it really humbled me. I love the pastoral side of my job, and seeing what many of my customers go through made me think about how I could serve more people in this way. I look forward to taking my experience with me in to my Reader ministry.”

News & Events

What does it mean to be a Reader?

Being a Reader takes three years of study and is an important part of the work of the Church of England. Readers are involved in many types of church work including teaching, preaching, leading certain services and helping the local vicar with the worship at the church.

Readers are very often in work and as active members of the community bring a fresh perspective to the local church. For some, it is the first step to ordination

The Diocese of Liverpool is one of the leading dioceses in the country for the support and development of Readers, with over 280 carrying out an active ministry. These take a variety of forms including a reader who is Chaplain to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and others who are chaplains in prisons or who run churches in schools.

To find out more about Reader Ministry please contact Warden of Readers Jean Todd: jeantodd6@btinternet.com