FIFTY YEARS A LAY READER.

It was in 1967 that my vicar at the time asked me to become a Lay Reader: the parish was Sonning (near Reading) and the vicar’s name was Robin Brutton. I did not feel I could possibly refuse; and so began 50 years of duty and obligation.

Therefore, looking back, has it been a welcome experience? Of course it has, but there have also been many occasions of great fear: one might almost say sheer panic. To stand up in front of 100 people and lead them in worship, and to preach to them is definitely stressful, perhaps at times, even worse.

No doubt many of you reading this will also have experienced times in your life when the occasion has demanded more than you felt able to give. My method was always, just before the service commenced, to ask The Almighty to strengthen His Holy Spirit in me so that I could do my very best for His sake. The words that I spoke needed to be His words: His message, rather than my own. I can honestly say that He never ever let me down.

I share this with you because I am sure that you will have experienced occasions when the daunting situation looms before you and you simply do not know how you are going to get through it. If we are Christians, then we always know that God the Father is there for us: we know this because Jesus, all through His ministry, assured us that it was so. Do we remember that God is there for us? Do we call on Him when we need Him most?

This month I relinquish my duties as Lay Reader! Obviously there will be a few regrets, but life is a journey through which we must move with thought and prayer. New demands come our way, and we should be ready for them. I believe that the Rector is empowered to call upon my services on an occasional basis if he so wishes; so you may not entirely have seen the last of me!!

Hugh Grainger