‘If you need something doing, ask a busy person!’ is a phrase that springs to mind when talking to Canon Richard Lewis, who holds the role of Chair of the House of Laity.
Richard is responsible for chairing some of the sessions of Diocesan Synod, which is the parliament of the diocese and the main policy-making body. Synod meets three times a year to debate important issues, vote on business, and approve the diocesan budget of nearly £13 million.
Richard has been a member of St Andrew’s Church in Eccles for over 30 years, and during that time has volunteered for many roles within the church and wider diocese for which he feels he has the skills and experience.
He said, “I feel called to serve in our diocese and if I see something that needs doing and I have the time, I will put my name forward. I strongly believe that the laity need to take a more active role in the life of the Church if it is to remain fit and healthy in 30 years’ time.”
With a background in finance and IT systems, Richard first got involved helping the PCC with fundraising. He then became Treasurer and Gift Aid Secretary, which led to going on Deanery Synod and then Diocesan Synod. It was a natural progression to use his work skills to serve the church.
He said, “I think I can add value by taking an interest in the decisions that the diocese takes and by challenging boards and committees and holding them to account. For me it’s important to take an interest and help to make sound financial decisions.”
Richard, now retired, appreciates that not everyone has the time to sit on boards and committees, but we can all probably do something to be involved in the running of the Church and to help take the pressure of administrative tasks off the clergy. Often, a personal approach is required to ask someone if they have considered taking on a role, rather than just putting a request in a news sheet or notice board.
Richard has been surprised by some of the interesting things he has got involved in. “As part of the Discussion and Agreement team I have visited about 95 different churches over the last four years to discuss their Parish Share contribution! I’ve really enjoyed seeing other parishes and finding out the differences between them,” he said.