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For me, preparation to be a Liturgical Assistant, Reader or occasional Cantor is a combination of direct preparation and familiarisation with the service and by staying informed on relevant current affairs in Anglicism, Christianity as a whole and the world around us. 

Whatever the role, direct preparation typically starts a few days before the (Sunday) service, when a PowerPoint copy of the service is downloaded and quickly skimmed through for any changes and deviation from the normal. 

Around the Wednesday (when downloaded) and at least one more time the night before, I’ll read through my part of the service a few times out loud to be familiar with it.  

Throughout the week I like to listen to relevant podcasts (such as God Forbid, The Religion and Ethics Report, and Soul Search on ABC Radio National) and a variety of YouTube talks and prayer services like Lynda the Reader. 

Part of my preparation for serving is having time to unwind. I do this by regularly walking, exercising through the sports of historic fencing and boxing, playing music such as the ukelele and recorder, and watching videos to help relax and recharge. I find this to be an important part of maintaining motivation and readiness for the next service. 

My calling to my current roles began as a niggle, softly at first, evolving with time, to grow louder and more demanding. This started when I first moved to Queensland, where I attended Roman Catholic services and considered a vocation in the Catholic Church, to circumstances changing and bringing me to the Anglican Church. 

What calls me to be a Liturgical Assistant (and sometimes a Reader or Cantor) is a love of the liturgy. For me, becoming directly involved as a Cantor, Reader and LA took time and preparation to achieve, but was something of a niggle that persisted. But ultimately I was answering a call that started not long after relocating to Queensland, even if it involved moving denominations.  

I believe any calling should be thoroughly tested, to examine if the calling you feel you have is genuine, and from God calling you to service, or is an act of ego and a response a need for status, attention, and prestige.  

For me, faith must seek understanding through reason and curiosity of the world around us, and by examining ourselves, our faith, church, and world to form a greater understanding of ourselves and role in it. Faith, for me isn’t blind, or one that accepts the word of authority but must examine, question, and seek improvement (of your self and the church as a whole).  

This is at the core of my faith, although I do believe in doing so without rudeness, or judgement of others. 

The need not to be a spectator is how I view (my) faith. For me, we are called to live faith in a way that isn’t (completely) in the abstract, but is a lived one that (given the cultural context) attempts to mimic Christ’s teachings as much as we can in the world – rather than being something that’s far removed from it and solely focused inward. 

Prayer for me is something that is as much kinaesthetic as it is verbal or anything else. Often I respond to a combination of reciting prayers verbally either out loud or silently, but respond best to listening to them (be it live or recorded) frequently while walking.  

Inspired by Psalms 46:10 (Be still and know I am God) while out for a walk I’ll frequently pass a small park, with a bench that overlooks the Nerang River. Often on the way home I’ll sit there, looking mostly at nothing, allowing nature and the sensations of the breeze, with the light seeping over me in silence, as a form of meditative prayer. 

You can read more about various serving roles, including LA, Cantor and Reader, on our Weekly Worship | Ministries page.