In the latest of our new reader profiles, we meet Rachel Martin, who serves at Hindley St Peter with her husband Simon.
Rachel combines her role as a reader with a job as a university administrator at Manchester Metropolitan University where she has worked for 17 years. Rachel also has a BA in music and an MA in creative writing.
Rachel was born in the West Country but was brought up in Birmingham, being sent to Sunday School and then joining the choir at her local church where her faith began to develop. Rachel says: “My faith journey continued after confirmation when I was a teenager, going along to youth meetings held at Birmingham Cathedral, and learning more about Jesus. This led to me praying one day, "Lord, my life is in your hands," and meaning it.” However, at this point, Rachel didn’t know how her calling would develop.
After university, Rachel lived in London for 10 years, and was involved in a church in the East End, and then attended All Souls Church, Langham Place. When she married Simon, she moved to Wigan.
Rachel said: “I didn’t consider reader licensing at all - instead, I was involved in music in church; I led a bible study group at university, and was a sidesperson. When the Vicar of St Peter's asked me to consider becoming a reader, I said I wasn't interested, but God spoke to me soon after while I was attending a retreat. He challenged me to be open to His calling. So, I listened, and at that point I said yes.”
She says of her calling: “I believe you are called to be a reader, and people expect readers to have a deep faith commitment, knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and how to explain them. Readers have for a long while had a vital preaching and teaching role which complements the role of the ordained clergy.
“It’s important to realise that all Christian people have different gifts. Some may have the gift of reading out loud from the Bible, saying prayers, singing in the choir, taking confirmation classes or baptism preparation classes. These are all equally valid for a reader to do, but I think that people do recognise Readers as being licensed Ministers, working with the ordained clergy, particularly in the field of worship and communicating the Gospel.”
Rachel says that she has a particular interest in teaching in the small group setting, “as I have always found home groups and fellowship groups to be an incredibly valuable way of learning about God.”
Thinking about reader ministry? Come to the Reader Taster Evening - details on this page