Two Readers recently set apart in Fife reflect on their journey
Published on 10 January 2024 3 minutes read
Two Readers, who are both based in Fife and who have recently been set apart, reflect on their journey to their new roles within the Church of Scotland.
Providing Ministry of Word to congregations, such as by taking services, Readers serve where needed either within their presbytery or outwith their local area.
Sally Sheail, originally trained as a Reader within the Church of England at St George's Ovenden in Halifax after feeling a calling in the 90s.
"I then had to move to Scotland for work purposes about a year later, but the call never left me," she explained.
"In 2020 my work sent me on a development course for women and as a result, I decided I didn't want to work any more and it was time I became a Reader again.
Having previously served as a Reader within a different denomination, Sally only had to study for one unit, Scottish church history.
"Whilst it was not necessarily my cup of tea it did help me to understand how the Church of Scotland has got to where it's at, so that can help inform my ministry as I go forward," she said.
Sally was set apart at St Fillan's Church in Aberdour Sunday 26 November, and took her first service there a week later as a Reader in the Church of Scotland.
"It all felt so right," she said.
"The call for me is to be part of a team ministry.
"Most Readers go into pulpit supply but my call is more about leadership underpinned by ministry of compassion.
"When Forth View Church comes into existence, they have pledged to adopt a team ministry approach so my hope is to be part of this but it will be an evolving picture.
"When I was a Reader with the Church of England I was part of a team ministry so there's some of that learning that hopefully the basic principles will transfer across.
Her advice to anyone who might be interested in becoming a Reader is to "dip your toe in the water and give it a try".
John MacMillan grew up attending Henderson Church in Kilmarnock and now lives in Wormit in Fife and was set apart at Cupar St John's at the end of November, an experience he found "moving and humbling".
He said: "Away back in about 1974 or 1975, the Rev John Weir Cook of Henderson asked me if I felt a Call to ministry. I really did not at that stage.
"The vocation that did attract me was law and I really enjoyed all of my career.
"As that career was winding to a conclusion however, in amongst the aftermath of both my parents' deaths in 2019 within three months of each other, and the general consequences of Covid and Presbytery planning in late 2020, there emerged for me a real sense of Call to do something in God's ministry.
"That all led to the path towards Readership which I finally completed in August this year.
"Although the Call emerged in Fife in 2020 and the agents this time were Rev Jim Connolly and my wife, acting separately but contemporaneously, there is no doubt that the late Rev John Weir Cook's question never really left me alone over 45 years and that the foundation stones for all this were laid in Henderson Church on the banks of the Kilmarnock Water a very long time ago.
"It's amazing how long some seeds take to germinate!
"My really warm thanks to all the churches who have helped, and continue to help, me on my road, and the myriad of people who made the Readership journey not just possible but joyful."