A long, long read

It’s been a weekend of anniversaries for us – 1450 years since the arrival of St Columba on Iona – of which more tomorrow. We started with a Dinner to celebrate 150 years of Lay Readers in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

It’s the kind of anniversary which could slip by without anybody noticing – so thank you to Sue Whyte and her friends for deciding to mark it and inviting Alison and myself to join them. There were 26 of us in all.

I’ve had the privilege of taking part in the two Lay Reader Conferences which we have had. I always have the same reaction to the people I meet – not the usual suspects whom I meet hanging out around the GSO. This is a different set of people – passionate about their ministry and service and immersed in the life of the congregations in which they serve. This anniversary also reminds us that lay ministry is not the new-fangled stuff which we sometimes think it is – our Lay Readers are part of a strong tradition of lay ministry which has complemented the ministry of clergy.

And one more thing. This is not an easy option. Today’s Lay Readers do a minimum of two years of our TISEC course and many do three. They carry out placements and experience different contexts of ministry. In short – not an easy option. Thank you to all of them


  1. I agree with the previous comment. The use of these acronyms, meaningful only to those in the know, simply baffles and irritates those on the outside, SBNRs and others. My own position regarding the church is very much of that of Charles Péguy as described by Geoffrey Hill, ‘self-excommunicate but adoring’, and it is this air of introspective cosiness that does a lot to keep me like that.

    1. Thank you for your comment Allan. Sorry about the acronyms – I hope I almost never do that. There are hardly enough of us in the Scottish Episcopal Church [SEC] to be able to do insiders and outsiders.

      I thought I had explained Spiritual but not Religious [SBNR] I’ve unwrapped the others in my response below to my friend Renee Kingston

  2. GSO? TISEC? – please add a little glossary for the interested but unengaged Constant Reader- including the SBNRs. And I had a wild moment of thinking that “unfurling the Brompton” might be some arcane spiritual exercise from London, but I got over that. All the best.

    1. Sorry Renee I hope that I almost never do that but I suspect that I was in more of a headlong rush than usual. Glossary of terms as follows:
      GSO – General Synod Office – smoke-filled rooms and corridors of power of the SEC – Scottish Episcopal Church otherwise knowns as Piskies
      TISEC – Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church – our clergy and other ministries training engine
      Brompton – folding bicycle – poetry in motion – Simon will know about it, I suspect. Joined at the hip or more generally the posterior to mine

  3. We only celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Reader Ministry in the C of I in 2009.

Comments are closed.