Newsletter for Readers / Licensed Lay Ministers 4th July

Of Communion by Extension and the lost art of Matins. 

Writing when in need of a holiday 🙂 

When I began my training as  Reader back in 1986 my  role, and indeed my vocation was very different although it was still focused on working with parts of the community as someone with some theological training, some communication skills and a real call to change things for the better. 

My duties: 

  • Sung matins
  • Sung evensong
  • the occasional sermon for a Sunday communion service. 
  • reading lessons (readers robed for this) no-one in the congregation was asked. 
  • Some sick communions
  • Leading a youth group and a house group 

Somehow in the three and a half decades up to the present day many of those non eucharistic services disappeared and the diet of communion services became “what we have always done!” and, not only what they have always done but, “if we can’t have the service as we have always done it then we will go somewhere else.”

I have always resisted discussions about Communion by Extension  (not including sick communions or residential homes) because I did not want to be what I thought of as being some sort of second class ordained person.   But in a few weeks time I am taking my first “Communion by Extension” service at St Stephen’s Treleigh, where I used to do my sung Matins.

Times change and the needs of the people change but I am still mildly uncomfortable at preserving the status quo as a “not quite the real thing” version of “what we have always done.” 

I do wonder as we prepare to take on board the “On the Way” programme in September where we go from here! The energy I had for change in my late thirties is harder to come by and chaplaincy, spiritual direction, funerals the occasional sermon together with chief ZOOM service operator are more he order of the day. I hit the magic Permission to Officiate mark in February and one is tempted just to go with the flow rather than being the prophet who stirs the pot! 

Tomorrows readings are interesting – I love the Ezekiel line “4The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ ” which reminds me of when I have tried hard to change things in the past in church. In the Gospel reading we have that wonderful line from Jesus who says ” 4Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town'” which sums up many a reader’s position, being prophets in our home towns while ordained clergy are largely moving through.  

But we keep on keeping on and looking to God and to the community to seek that which will serve the people best and……. and this is important…… grown the kingdom not merely keep the status quo. 

Your answers on the back of a postage stamp, stuck to an envelope and addressed to Never-Never Land. 


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