Newly Licensed Readers Heather Ross, Stephen Gardiner & Christine Richardson

Three new Readers have been licensed in the Church of England Diocese of Durham today Saturday 21st September 2018.

The Rt Revd Paul Butler Bishop of Durham, Licensed Stephen Gilbert (Willington, St Stephen & Hunwick, Saint Paul), Christine Richardson (Heworth, St Mary) and Heather Ross (Benefice of Upper Weardale). The service was held in Durham Cathedral and was attended by family, friends and members of their parishes along with other Readers from the diocese.

Newly licensed readers with Bishop Paul, Bishop Mark (Picture: Keith Blundy)

The licensing of all new Readers follows a period of theological training (usually 3 years) and is the only lay position that is recognised both locally in the diocese and across the Church of England meaning readers can preach in any CofE church.

The 2018 service was especially poignant for two reasons, firstly it was the final service that The Rt Revd Mark Bryant would attend as Bishop of Jarrow and Warden of Readers before his retirement in October; and for Heather Ross, she had her original Sunday School Teacher present to which her well.

Bishop Mark said: “It has been a joy to see so many readers be licensed whilst I have been Bishop of Jarrow and Warden. The work that they all do, the commitment they show is amazing – they do a fantastic job in our parishes across the diocese.”

Heather said: “I am delighted that Jean Proud my Sunday School Teacher from my childhood was able to attend. She that was so important in my growing in my faith and ultimately in me becoming a Reader today. Jean was an inspiration to me in my early days and I just wonder how many others have been influenced her teaching over teh years.”

Heather Ross with her original Sunday School Teacher Jean Proud (89)
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

Jean Proud who will be 90 years old this October said that she was very proud to have been invited to the licensing and was thrilled for Heather on her special day. 

Click for Sermon Readers service sermon.2018.pdf

Pictures from the service can be purchased here.

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