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St Peter's Readers


Readers are lay people who exercise a vital ministry in the Church. They are licensed to preach, teach and lead worship but they also work in a huge variety of other roles, in pastoral work, in training and education and much more. Perhaps most importantly, they are theologically trained lay people who act as a skilled resource for the church. Readers also carry out the vitally important ministry of being informed lay people living out their faith in a huge variety of different walks of life - as a lay ministry, it shouldn’t just be centred around ‘churchy’ activities. There are just under 500 licensed Readers in the Diocese of Chester - one of the highest figures for a Diocese in the Church of England.

At St Peter's we currently have two Readers who carry out this important and valuable role, but are always looking for more Readers as there is no maximum on how many we can have and the benefit to the parish and local community is immeasurable.

You can contact St Peter's Readers via email by clicking here

More information about Reader Ministry can be found by clicking on this link http://www.chester.anglican.org/page_ministry.asp?Page=128


John Moss is St Peter's Reader Emeritus and shares below why he felt called to carry out this valuable postion at St Peter's.

I had a bit of a split religious upbringing. My father was C of E, my mother was Wesleyan Methodist. We came to St Peter’s when he was at home but when he was away we went to the Congregational Church. That’s not unusual in the Church of England.

My father was a lay Reader and Rover Scout Commissioner before he was married and my mother was Centre Organiser for the WVS so my upbringing was in a family where faith and service was taken as read. 

When I started my Reader training, someone asked me if I had had a ‘mountain top revelation’ of Christ in my life. I wasn’t used to the Evangelical approach then. I replied that far from it being a mountain top, my absolute trust in Christ came when my brother was trapped whilst potholing. Initially I prayed for him to be rescued but as the days went on, I entrusted him to God’s care and said that I would accept the outcome whatever that might be. Sadly too many parents lose children before they become adults and all you can do is to entrust them to God. Its been a lesson that has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life. I try to see the best in people and try to see what lies behind things they do and say and provide support where I can.

I joined the Youth Fellowship (the forerunner to Steppyng Stones although the definition of ’youth’ appeared to encompass 16-35 then) and subsequently I became leader of it and of Petrines for several years. It was a good mix of religion (including saying Compline at the end of meetings), camping and walking. I’ve followed my parents example and done quite a bit of service in the community. I’ve been a Sidesman, PCC member and Lay Chairman of it for years and finally a Churchwarden.

I felt I would like to do something more spiritually biased. A very informal interview followed after which I started on the one year  Foundations for Ministry course followed by 2 years Reader specific training concentrated on theology and leadership skills. Some of my fellow trainees opted instead to train as Pastoral Workers as did Andrea Millington later.

As a Reader I am authorised to preach, teach, lead worship (I don’t think I can sing so you will see John Hawker singing for me sometimes), assist at Communion (including taking Communion services using previously consecrated elements) and doing Home Communions which is a privilege.

I find preaching and leading worship stimulating as I enjoy doing a lot of research and thinking things through. I’m sure part of the secret is starting early and letting the Holy Spirit get to work through me.

We had 6 Readers at one time and now, as St Paul said, only I am left. So please think and pray about the possibility of offering yourself as a Reader, Pastoral Worker, or dare I say it, as a priest. After all Libby, Georgina and George have all taken the plunge and survived! 


Julie Withers is St Peter's latest Reader and shares below why she felt called to carry out this valuable postion at St Peter's.

My name is Julie Withers.  I have been worshipping at St Peter’s since November 2011.  I live with my partner and our three small dogs on the Mobberley side of Knutsford.  When I have the opportunity I enjoy taking our motorhome on travels around the country to favourite places and to new places which often become favourites!   I am a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Diocese of Chester.

I came to St Peter’s after a period of being restless in my previous parish, having been encouraged by the Diocesan Warden of Readers to explore pastures new.  St Peter’s appealed to me because of the quality of the worship, the music and the variety of services.  Something else that also called out to me was that this is an active Christian community which appears to be engaging with their faith and the wider community through small groups and interfaith and social events.

I came to faith through divorce.  I didn’t know how to pray so very hesitantly I used the Psalms to tell God how I felt and to ask his help to get through the difficult place I was in.  The help I received was so tangible it convinced me of the reality of God.  I am certain that I was sustained by the God I had ignored for years.  This brought me to church in thanksgiving in 1989 (it turned out to be Pentecost!) and I was confirmed in 1991 at St Cross, Knutsford.

As I knew so little of God and the Christian faith I was drawn to a variety of courses.  Lots of them took place in small groups.  These helped me to grow more confident in my faith and as a disciple. As a result I am a passionate supporter of the use of small groups for adults to learn more of and to engage with the Christian faith. 

My learning drew me on and I was a Parish Assistant.  I later completed a few more modules to convert from Parish Assistant to be a licensed Pastoral Worker.  However, in time I responded to a call in a different direction.  I undertook some further study which led to me being licensed as a Reader in 2009.

My love of groups drew me into working with them and I have led (I prefer facilitated!) various groups over the years including the Diocesan Bishop’s Course, the Doorway course and the Foundations for Ministry course.  I am now a co-mentor for a course that is new to the Diocese called Exploring Faith Matters.  Please ask me about it if you would like to know more!  I have also run a course that explored prayer and have run workshops to help people have a go at different approaches to prayer. 

I have found through my studies that the more I study the more aware I am of the little I seem to know about God!  One thing I am sure of, it is impossible to ever learn enough about our faith and our amazing God! 

I am delighted that my license was transferred to St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley at a service in Chester Cathedral on Saturday 19th October 2013. 

I aim to know everyone of the church family in Hale and Ashley and hope we can learn and grow together as disciples as we share our Christian journey.


You can contact St Peter's Readers via email by clicking here

More information about Reader Ministry can be found by clicking on this link http://www.chester.anglican.org/page_ministry.asp?Page=128