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A pilgrimage to start Reader Ministry

Published: 10th September 2021

Next week, the five people who will be licensed as Lay Ministers (Readers) in Worcester Cathedral on 18 September, will take part in a two-day pilgrimage from their training college in Birmingham to Worcester.

The group will leave Queens Theological College in Birmingham on Thursday 16 September and will walk the 26 miles to Worcester along the canal, sleeping overnight in Tardebigge Church and arriving at the Cathedral for Evensong on Friday.

“We’d been training for Reader Ministry for only two terms before the first Covid lockdown and completed our parish placements in the second lockdown, so it’s been a really challenging couple of years” explained Robert Barbour from St Anne’s in Bewdley. “Doing this pilgrimage before our licensing is a chance for us to reconnect with each other and share in fellowship together. It would be great if others wanted to join us for part or all of the journey!”

Sue MacAskill from the Kidderminster Ismere Team has taken the lead in organising the walk. “We wanted to do something to mark the transition from learning to ministry – something similar to a retreat but not quite so formal. We all like being outdoors and felt a walk would be good so I investigated whether it was possible for us to follow the canal from Birmingham all the way to the Cathedral. It’s a physical journey that represents our spiritual one!”

The group will be praying as they walk along and hope to stop off at a few different churches for both formal and informal worship. They will be joined at various points by others and will be met by family and friends at the end who can’t take part due to work commitments. Others are also praying for them as they walk. “We already feel very surrounded in prayer,” said Sue.

Tracy Skidmore from Brockmoor said: “It’s been such a unique situation over the past two years. It’s been challenging but has also presented opportunities that might not have been there without Covid. As a result, we’ve formed a strong bond with those that we trained with. We are five ordinary people from different parishes who have been on this journey together. We have all been called in different ways by God and our ministry as Readers will look very different, but the pilgrimage is a chance for us to mark what we’ve been through together.”

The group also hope that the pilgrimage will help to highlight the importance of Reader Ministry and encourage others to consider it.  “It’s a distinctive and valuable ministry which we all really believe in,” said Robert.

Please pray for those taking part in the pilgrimage ahead of their licensing as Readers on 18 September:

  • Robert Barbour, St Anne’s Church in Bewdley
  • Dean Hall, Tardebigge with Holy Trinity Redditch Team
  • Sue MacAskill, Kidderminster Ismere Team
  • Tracey Skidmore, Brockmoor in Dudley
  • Geoff Tee, Norton and Wollaston, Stourbridge

All are welcome to join the pilgrims on their journey:

Day 1: Thursday 16 September

  • 9.30am - Morning Prayer in the chapel at Queen’s Theological Foundation
  • 10am - depart Queen’s
  • 12.30/ 1pm - lunch at Navigation Inn, King’s Norton. B30 3LS
  • 4.30/ 5pm - evening stop at Tardebigge with Evening Prayer in church B60 3AH

Day 2: Friday 17 September

  • 8am - Morning Prayer in Tardebigge church
  • 8.30am - depart Tardebigge
  • 1/1.30pm - lunch at Worcester Rugby Football Club, Offerton Lane WR3 8TR
  • 2.30pm - depart Rugby Club
  • 5.30pm - Evensong at Worcester Cathedral
Page last updated: Monday 13th September 2021 11:02 AM

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