David Walker has become the first Reader to be licensed by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Revd Paul Butler.
The Bishop used the service in Durham Cathedral to appeal for more people to come forward as Readers.
The Bishop said: “Readers are called by God through the people of God and the call to Reader ministry remains an important one in the life of our church.
“I want to see more people step forward for this ministry of the Word and hope that there will be some younger Readers, too.
“It is a ministry of the Word which is about making disciples and, therefore, growing healthy churches.
“We are to be a church committed to growing in healthy ways, focused on our Lord in worship and prayer, looking outwards in serving others and seeing more follow Jesus.”
David, whose wife is an ordained minister, was licensed in a service in the Choir at Durham Cathedral and will be based in St Mary’s church in Barnard Castle, Teesdale.
He will cover the Barnard Castle and Whorlton areas and is the first Reader to be licensed this year.
David, who has undergone three years of training, said: “Being involved in the service felt unique and an honour.
“I have felt called to do this for a number of years. It was a case of waiting for the right time and the right opportunity to do it.”
Hylda Hopper, the Sub-Warden for Readers in the Auckland Archdeaconry, said: “Services like this are a great joy. It’s exciting to see people that I have watched grow for three years be licensed.
“Readers do a wonderful job. They fulfil a lay ministry. It is very important to have them working in the church, supporting the clergy.“
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