‘He will direct your path’ – Commissioning of Parish and Diocesan Lay Readers
Seven people from varying walks of life gathered in Christ Church Cathedral united in one cause yesterday afternoon (Sunday June 19). They were commissioned by Archbishop Michael Jackson as Parish and Diocesan Lay Readers having completed their training despite pandemic obstacles.
Seb Dungan from Kill O’ the Grange and Brian Hickey from Kilternan were commissioned as Parish Readers. Lynn Adams from Coolock and Raheny, John Dean–O’Keeffe from Holy Trinity Killiney, Thabi Madide from Delgany, Jean Salter from St Matthias Killiney–Ballybrack and Mandy Swanwick from Tullow were commissioned as Diocesan Readers. As a reminder that Covid continues to present obstacles, one of the Diocesan Readers, Dee Huddleston from Celbridge Straffan and Newcastle–Lyons, could not be present but will be commissioned in due course.
Lynn, Thabi and John gave brief reflections on lay ministry in conversation with Dean’s Vicar, the Revd Abigail Sines, at the beginning of the service. Lynn, reflecting on Dee’s words, said it was an honour to be called to lay ministry and hoped they could serve as God’s hands and feet in the world. Thabi noted the Lord’s words that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few and encouraged others to consider training as Readers who, she noted, occupied a unique position within the structure of the Church. Looking at how the Readers’ roles may develop, John said that they were ‘foot soldiers’ but added “not withstanding our ordinariness I hope to try something extraordinary in this role”.
The sermon was preached by Ruth Gyves, a Diocesan Reader from Holy Trinity Rathmines. She took as her text Proverbs 3: 5–6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.’
She said it was necessary to rely fully on God by trusting him wholeheartedly. “Not trusting God with your whole heart can lead to anxiety and stress. If we don’t trust him fully, then it leaves the door open to feeling responsible for what happens to us. Jesus wants us to lean completely on him – he has said that if we cast our cares on him, he will sustain us,” she explained.
She reminded those being commissioned that God had called them to ministry and said they should not lean or rely on their own abilities but should seek Him first. “If you rely on yourself then your ministry will become all about you – your focus must be on God and on what he wants to do through you, using your unique character that he has given you,” she said.
Ruth said that Proverbs urged the Readers to acknowledge God in all their ways – to get to know God and listen for his voice in everything they do. “Allow God to be the foundation of your life and ministry – don’t just come to him for the occasional check in. […] When we seek him with all our hearts and acknowledge him in all our ways, we will find him and he will be there in our point of need,” she stated.
She continued: “When we trust God completely; when we lean fully on him and when we spend time in loving relationship with him, he will direct our paths.”