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Lectors' Network Strive for Excellence

Jul 8, 2009, 6:23 AM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The Network of Lectors' Network is a Diocesan Ministry in the Catholic Church responsible for readings in the Church and sees into the affairs of Lectors in the country. Lector Ministry is geared towards the preparation of their groups for the proclamation of the Word of God. This is done by vigorous preparations be it a Catholic, Methodist, Anglican or 'Born Again Church Members.' The Word of God is vital, it therefore needs careful preparation to enhance a good out put for consumption by the congregation. The Network of Lectors have therefore embarked on a complete sensitisation of their groups to enhance their out put in their different Churches. Panorama has followed the trend of training put up by this formidable group.

Lector Groups from Star of the Sea, Holy Family both at Bakau, St. Therese, Blessed Sacrament, St. Charles Lwanga and Divine Mercy met for a day's training at the DYC office at St. Therese to train in the art of proclaiming the Word of God. The first group trained at Kanifing and the other group were to be train at St. Peter's but was changed for convenience sake to Brikama.

Talking about preparation, Sister Cecilia of the Presentation Sisters at Brikama, one of the trainers said, those gathered here are trainers of trainers because they are going to train other lector members in their different groups.

Sr. Cecilia said lectors should read the text every day, pray over it and ask God, "Lord what do you want me to do? You keep it, you do it, and you live it and practice it," she said. She said it was necessary to memorise the text like the early Christians did and read it by heart. Sister also delved into the areas of pauses and said after introducing the Book it is good to pause and count 1,2,3,4 and 5 then continue with the reading. This she stressed would invite the congregation to listen to what is to come. She says, "After a comma there should be a pause and you look up, put your finger on the area you stopped reading. After a full stop count 1 and 2. At the end of a reading and also before and after the key sentence, there should be a pause. Pronounce all your Is and your -eds and your pees at the end of your words, say the last letter e.g. "This is the wor(d) of the Lor(d). Project your voice and read slowly. Know the last part of the reading and look up. Pick up someone at the back and read for that person, show eye contact to that person.

Austin Kanjia pointed out that at Star of the Sea, they had formed a Biblical Storytellers' who memorise the readings and act them out like a story for the consumption of the congregation that they serve. This he said is in line with what the early Christians did and it would serve well if it is done in present day Churches.

Talking about the things not to do Sr. Cecilia said lectors should not be afraid to adjust the microphone and should not dress to attract people's attention from listening to your reading. She further says, "Sing the Psalm, it is a word of God but it is also a prayer. You should not say after any of its stanza, "response" No one converses with a friend and says, response."

Reading in the Church is to enhance or put in action what the early Christians did to live by the Word of God. This demands a critical attention because the Christians who listen today were not there when the action took place, but are able to put themselves in the positions of those that were there and were able to receive salvation. Christ Himself said, "Blessed are those who have not seen but yet believe." The belief in the Word of God is total faith and it is the faith that takes Christians to God and can even make them move mountains. Therefore, the Word of God should be proclaimed with seriousness and love and to be lived by those who proclaim such. The Network of Lectors has seen the reality of the essence for the formation of lectors to suit such a position in society. Embarking on developing lectors is said to be essential in the life of the Church. The laity and religious would surely consume from the proclamations from the Bible. The Word of God is an essential aspect of Christianity, if this is not undertaken with keen interest and proclaimed seriously by an organised lectors group then the congregation is left to suffer.

The Lectors' Network president, Ernest Anthony Mendy says, "This is the time for those who have not set up a lectors group to form one and be part of the Network that is working in the interest of the Church. Reading well in the Church adds to the beauty of the Sermon, the beauty of the Eucharist and the beauty of the Holy Communion. We all have the mandate to make the Mass beautiful and to enable others gain from it."

The evaluation brought many ideas as the trainees praised the training and called it pertinent. The Secretary General, Austin Kanjia said it was an insight making lectors know the reality. Madeline from Divine Mercy church at Brufut said she appreciates the training. Ellen from Saint Therese reiterated that preparations before time was essential. "It reduces mistakes," she said. Anna Marie Prom from the Cathedral in Banjul said they would tell others that it is all about preparation and planning ahead. Isidor Jatta the Vice president of St. Therese's Lectors said they had gone a long way. Everyone he said should prepare before reading. "I suggest we have a follow up after the training," he said.

The Lectors Network plans to continue the training and to hold retreats as in the past. The training continues for those who want to become members of this sacrificial aspect of the Church. "We need encouragement and understanding from the congregation then we can forge ahead," Theresa Kanjia said.