CAPTION: The annual conference for Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers) took place online for the first time

Lay Ministers Gather From Across Devon for “Inspiring” Online Conference

Posted: 22nd February, 2021

Around 90 Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers) from across the Diocese of Exeter gathered on Zoom earlier this month for their annual conference.

The theme of the conference was Creation, Compassion and Creativity.

It was planned by a team led by Carol Price, the deputy Warden of Readers and included input from Bishop Robert, Bishop Jackie and Bishop Nick.

There were also talks on theology and the climate crisis from Professor Chris Southgate, from Exeter University, and Chris Keppie, the Diocese of Exeter Environment Officer.

During the weekend-long event there were workshops on creative writing and prayer and prayer trails.

Readers were sent a thank you gift, which included a kit to make a robin out of felt

There was also a felt robin-making workshop, with each attendee sent an environmentally-friendly gift pack, including a felt robin sewing kit, fair trade chocolate, teabags and a Celtic prayer card before the conference.

They were sent out by Andrew Beane, the Archdeacon of Exeter, as a gesture of thanks for the varied and valuable work lay ministers do in parishes.

As Warden of Readers he oversees Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) in the Diocese.

Jill Hobbs, a LLM in the Whiddon Mission Community, said “What could we want to feel more valued! The conference was a remarkable feat of technology and determination to bring all the wonderful lay ministers of Exeter Diocese together for a special weekend when we were fed and watered spiritually and our ministries emotionally recharged.

“The worship had been put together by Jennifer Townley, a Reader, Chaplain at Derriford Hospital and Archdeaconry warden, who had made an excellent job of embedding the Creation theme. It was enjoyed by all Readers alike.

Andrew Beane oversees Licensed Lay Ministers in the Diocese of Exeter

“It was made all the more poignant by the knowledge that Jennifer had passed away about ten days before the Conference, and as we were reading her words, she was already with God in heaven.”

Gill said the conference was “an opportunity to be inspired, to go forward in our ministries, whatever and wherever they are in the diocese of Exeter.”

Andrew Beane said “The Annual Conference is very much a highlight in the calendar for the Licensed Lay Minister (Readers) across the Diocese an opportunity to share experiences and renew friendship.

“It was my great privilege to share with the Readers last year in the beautiful setting of Lee Abbey.

“Our Online Conference this years shows the versatility and passion of our lay colleagues as all the arrangements were made in a matter of a few weeks!

“My enormous thanks go to Carol and her team and to Hannah Cross our wonderful Reader Administrator based in the Old Deanery.”

You can find out more about what Licensed Lay Ministers do and how to train as one, here.