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Voice and Presence in Ministry

For many years I have been passionate about the quality of the spoken word as it is used in the context of worship, and have run training sessions for LLMs in training and readers in parish contexts over a number of years. Since completing my own training with the OneSpirit Interfaith Seminary I have returned to run voice and presence sessions with students in their second year.

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My unique combination of training, skills and experience can help you understand how you can make use of your own voice and the words of liturgy, scripture and your own inspiration to communicate in the most effective way possible to groups, families and congregations




Voice is, for the most part, the key to good communication. 

If you understand how your voice works, how you can look after it, prepare it, use it;

if you can appreciate and expand the range of pitch and pace and colour in your voice;

if you can sense your voice as the tool with which to reach out, touch, move, convince,

then you will be in the best position to make the most of your speaking.


Everything we use in the act of speech has a primary use which is fundamental to life: breathing, eating, moving.


And the most important organ of articulation is the heart:

if your heart is not engaged with the words you utter, even the best modulated voice will fail to convince.


To understand how your voice works; to feel and work with its resonance, to develop its musculature, to deepen its breath, to improve its articulation.

Whether the text you have to communicate is 

liturgical – provided by an external authority for use in this situation;

scriptural – sacred, gifted words;

words written by inspired poets,

or the fruit of your own creation


it deserves the close attention which will ensure that you understand as fully as possible its meanings and its potential effect.


What is this text about? What is its activity – storytelling, instruction, description, exhortation, comfort? Who is speaking? What are the important words, the key ideas? What is its shape?


Whatever is set out to be delivered in a worship context is important, weighty. If we have not appreciated the importance, the weight, the significance, then we will most likely deliver it without allowing any of that to come through.


If we have not paid due attention, then we cannot expect those who hear us to do so.


To look at text carefully, analysing its precise meanings and constructions, identifying key actions and shapes, understanding its freshness and importance

From the moment you walk into the space at the front of a group or congregation, stand up within the circle of a worship group or assume a celebrancy role by a font or in a crematorium, it is your responsibility to hold that space for these people in this situation with sensitivity, compassion and strength.


It is your responsibility to make room for the Divine, to be the channel through which these people can hear and be touched by Grace.


The more evident you are, the less room there is for this essential communication.


And here’s the magical paradox: 

the better you are at creating the space, constructing the activity, communicating the ideas, the less evident you will be.


If you are confident in your bearing, clear in your conduct, focused on the intention to communicate, skilful in your expression, 

then there is nothing to distract the people from your message, from the Divine’s reaching out for connection.


To anticipate, plan, prepare, and open to the situation you are to hold, and to step into it in the confidence that as you have worked, so you will be held.

Sessions can be one-to-one or for groups of up to 10, and can range from single, hour-long sessions to half- and full-day single or series of workshops

for more information

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