Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


The Office of Parish Reader in the Diocese of Connor

Nigel AdamsOn the 11th May Nigel Adams will be commissioned to the office of Parish Reader for the Parish of Magheragall. In the following article I will attempt answer your questions concerning the role and remit of a parish reader before you ask them.

The development of lay ministry within the Church of Ireland has bought a much greater involvement by lay people in leading various aspects of public worship. The revision of our prayer book has highlighted the nature of such involvement, not just as supplementary to the role of the clergy but as an essential expression of the worship of the whole people of God. The scale of lay involvement in the leading of worship stretches from the person asked from time to time to read a lesson to the Diocesan Reader who may regularly preach and conduct the entire service without assistance. Between the two ends of the scale there is a place for the role of a Parish Reader i.e. someone trained and authorised to conduct Morning Prayer, Evening prayer and other services at the discretion of the rector. The Parish reader can also assist at Holy Communion.

A person recommended by the Rector for training has to attend a selection process. The individual is interviewed by the Warden of Readers, which is Canon George Irwin, and at a later date by a selection panel which includes the Archdeacon, a psychology, a lay person, a Reader and the Warden of Readers. This panel makes a recommendation to the Bishop who makes the final decision as to whether to accept the candidate for training.

Once selected the candidate joins a training course which is designed to promote an understanding of the theology of worship and to develop skills in the conduct of worship. Each individual selected is required to study recommended reading including biblical studies, doctrine and church history.

When the candidates have completed the training and the Warden of Readers is satisfied that the individual is adequately prepared for this ministry a recommendation is made to the Bishop who makes the final decision whether or not to allow the candidate to be licensed as a parish reader. The licence is issued for five years and is renewable by the Bishop.

I trust this article may answer all the questions parishioners might have as to the office and the role of a parish reader. If anyone has any further question please ask me. I am sure you would join with me in wishing Nigel God�s blessing in this new role and ensuring him of are prayers, are support and are encouragement as he, trusting in God�s call, steps into this new role within the church family.

Nicholas Dark