12 Sep 2019

Reader Ministry: Personal Testimonies


Pamela Baker, a licensed Reader from Gibraltar, shares her experiences of becoming, and being a Reader:

Why become a Reader? In my case, as a regular church goer, I knew I wanted more in-depth knowledge about Christ and The Word. Readership was suggested and after deep thought and consideration I knew that was the way for me to go. Formal training appealed to me and I knew it would help me move forward with confidence. It took time and my ceasing full time employment for the Spirit to give me its final “stop waffling and just get on with it” push, to start the application process with the PCC and the Diocese.

I admit training was not easy and required self-discipline to put the time aside. It was years since I had had to write essays and study. The university subjects I had done before (forensic science and family history) required deductions, sourced from scientifically or historically established facts and proven methods to show an outcome for a given situation; and often written in report format. Writing about faith and one’s own interpretations and feelings is very different. It required reading opinions and deductions taken from a large variety of sources, and then writing one’s own conclusions, opinions, critiques, etc. It was a real learning curve. Our Diocese is huge and fellow Readers and Readers in Training are not, in many cases, available for face to face contact to discuss problems. The backing of my tutor Elaine was of immense help and guidance. It was a real challenge, but has been so very rewarding. Whilst researching for an essay the number of times I ended up saying to myself “wow, I never knew that”, “oh, now I understand why” and “why did I not know this already?” etc. was humbling.  I had much to learn and, of course, still do. Whilst training giving my first sermon in the Cathedral was rather nerve racking - but I did have some experience due to reading lessons and leading intercessions when my turn came around.

Licensing was a very emotional and wonderful moment for me. Eighteen months later I had to apply for PTO, which goes to show age is no barrier. It is such a privilege to serve God’s people and it enriches my life and faith in ways that are difficult to put into words. It is a joy to take communion, read the bible and chat with those who are housebound or in hospital. Doing “Pause for Reflection”; a week of two-minute radio talks every three months, has proved challenging. I am forced to be concise and not waffle! Taking services and preaching from a wheelchair (temporally) has shown me how we can grow and adapt to circumstances if we have the faith to go forth in the name of Christ.