Bishop David commissioned seven new Diocesan Readers at a service in Down Cathedral on Wednesday 29 June. We asked Stephen Moore from Moneyreagh Community Church to share his experience of being called and sent.
After moving into the area six years ago my wife heard about Moneyreagh Community Church, who meet in the village community centre, and we started going along. This vibrant, warm, and loving church family welcomed us in, although it was a surprise to realise that I was in an Anglican church! God has used the work of those in MCC and the wider diocese to edify both myself and my family throughout these past six years.
The wonderful works of God, reaching their summit in the Gospel, that display His rich mercy and loving–kindness have become more and more a source of joy in all the circumstances that life throws at me. God, through His word, sustains me and as such I wanted to learn more about it so that I can share His goodness with others. I do see a real need for faithful biblical teaching within the church across the world. My love of God’s word, paired with this need, logically brings me to the point where I desire to unpack it for others. Indeed, I know God has placed this desire within me.
The opportunity to undertake the Diocesan Reader training came at just the right time for me as I sought to delve deeper into scripture. What perhaps did not come at the right time was the Covid regulations that meant much of our training was over Zoom! I love interacting with people face–to–face and that part of the training was hard, yet we must thank God for the technology that enabled us to keep learning throughout last eighteen months. Furthermore, my job as a firefighter results in me working many nights and weekends, so the connectivity through technology has been an invaluable means of interacting with others on the course.
The camaraderie within our WhatsApp group has kept me going these past eighteen months and I have made lasting friendships during the course. Whilst not all those from the diocese undertaking the Certificate of Christian Theology and Practice course have continued on to be commissioned as lay readers, every one of them has provided insight and encouragement to me throughout. We have had the wonderful support of Revd Willie Nixon and Andrew Brannigan on this journey with great input from Revd Adrian Dorrian, Desi Maxwell, and of course the team at CITI.
Called and sent
It is one thing to feel called to ministry, but there also needs to be a sending too. Romans 10:13–15 says, ‘For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?’. Our training and commissioning give us new readers a mandate of being sent, both into to our own parishes and across the diocese. I am excited to see what God has in store for us in the days ahead.