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A Journey to Ministry

Thursday 17th April, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

by Canon Dr Esther Elliott | tags: ,

Esther Elliot has recently been licensed as a Lay Reader with permission to officiate in this parish. She tells us a bit about herself and her journey to becoming a licensed reader

In order to have a licence to operate as a Reader in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham you have to fill in a form. One of the questions that I had to give a bit of thought to was "how long have you worshipped in the parish you wish to be licensed to?" A bit of sturdy thinking led me to the conclusion that 20+ years was both about right and a bit of a shock!

I have a very clear memory of one of the first services I came to at St Peter’s, I think it was Easter day. I was brought up as a Baptist and was completely out of my depth with Anglican liturgy until we sang "Thine be the glory" at the end of the service. It was accompanied by the sound of corks popping from the bottles being opened for a celebration after the service which was a bit of a surprise for a girl from a tee-total family who was going through a rough time.

Since then I've got a Masters degree and Doctorate in theology, been tutored by Joyce Savage in the art of ironing the altar linen (she sensed I was never going to bake a cake or arrange flowers), helped with the Sunday school, worked for an overseas mission agency, been on the Parochial Church Council and Deanery Synod, worked for Church Army designing a new system to train their evangelists, carried on celebrating the good stuff, chewed my nails through the bad stuff and much more besides.

For the last four years I have worked for Derby Diocese as their Lay Ministry Officer. The main purpose of my role is to nurture and encourage lay people in the Diocese to grow and develop in their faith and lives as Christians. As part of this remit I have responsibility for the ministry, training and development of the 260 Readers in the Diocese. And just in case I ever get too bored I am also a Bishop's Adviser who sits on the selection panels for people offering themselves to be trained for ordained ministry and a Canon at Derby Cathedral.

I've recently been licensed as a Reader in Derby Diocese and now have Permission to Officiate as a Reader in this parish. This seemed to be the easiest way in my particular circumstances to be able to offer some of the stuff I do in my day job in the life of the parish. I have a passion for words that help people think differently about life, either as creative liturgy or as part of sermons. And most of all I have a passion for supporting people to live with hope deep in their hearts. It was the reputation that St Peter’s had for being liberal, open and questioning in its theology that got me through the door 20+ years ago. It was the desire to celebrate and be hopeful in the midst of all of life that made me want to stay.

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