Reader Sunday is the day when we traditionally give thanks for the ministry of Readers, trained and licensed lay ministers, and many Readers are invited to lead worship or preach on that day.

But what do Readers do? Readers in the Diocese of York undertake a wide range of ministry in support of the churches and communities in which they live. The amount of time and energy that a Reader can put into their Ministry varies depending on all their other commitments such as work and family but may include leading worship, preaching, leading house groups, pastoral care, taking funerals, baptism preparation, children and youth work and more!

One of our long-standing Readers – David Local (pictured) from the parish of Yarm - says, “On 16th November 2021 I will celebrate 25 years of Reader Ministry all of which has been a joy. I have always particularly enjoyed leading worship, preaching and teaching. In addition my ministry with the sick, dying and bereaved families has been a great privilege.

“Over the years when there have been clergy vacancies in other parishes in the Deanery I have always been willing to take Morning and/or Evening Prayer, or Matins and/or Evensong when requested.

“In 2002 I felt called to become Lay Chair of Deanery Synod and since that time I have been on the Deanery Leadership Team. I am now in my third term as Reader with Permission to Officiate [technically retired but still busy - Ed] and feel it is now time to relinquish these duties. However, I would wish to continue with my Reader ministry as long as I am able and considered capable of doing so.”

As for many Readers, David's duties have changed according to the situation in the parish, and particularly during the pandemic and now the current clergy vacancy in Yarm.

“I am now covering the third vacancy in our parish since becoming a Reader. Because of the pandemic and being in vacancy since September 2020, when the Church building is closed as at present I lead three Zoom services per week. When the Church building has been open I have still led three Zoom services per week. Because of a significant number of our regular congregation have not been sufficiently confident to attend at Church, the Tuesday and Thursday Zoom services have taken place regardless. However, when leading a live Church service on a Sunday morning I have also led a Sunday Zoom service in the afternoon.”