Readers are lay ministers called and licenced by the Bishop to lead services, preach and attend to pastoral work arising from these ministries. To find out more about Readers see our Reader Ministry Page.
In order to carry out their varied ministries Readers need substantial theological and practical training. But above all, they need to grow in their own spiritual journey with God, becoming people of prayer and deep faith, with a self-awareness. For this reason, they have a rigorous and substantial training course.
Before becoming a Reader-in-Training, prospective Readers undertake a discernment process. Together with their parish priest, PCC and the Diocese they explore their calling to reader ministry and their particular God-given gifts.
Reader training in the diocese is in three parts:
- Theological: for most people, the diocesan course Exploring Christianity forms the theological basis for the training. However, an equivalent course studied elsewhere may take its place. Credit is also given where a candidate has engaged in former academic theological studies. Exploring Christianity is open to all lay people in the Diocese. Many Readers find it helps them discern their calling and they then apply at the end of their first year. This theological stage normally takes a couple of years.
- Formational: After theological training and selection, Readers undertake a formation year. This year explores what it means to be a Reader and involves the development of key skills in preaching and leading worship.
- Practical: After completion of the theological and formational component, licensing takes place. After licencing, Readers do two apprentice years which involve a mixture of practical reader ministry in their local church and further diocesan training. These develop further skills and spiritual growth. Learning for ministry never ceases and Reader then move onto the Continuing Ministerial Development programme.
How long does it take to become a Reader?
It normally takes three years to train and reach licencing. But if the candidate has gained some theological knowledge beforehand then they may start with the formational year. However, Christian discipleship and development of our ministries and service never ends. Therefore, Readers do 2 more apprenticeship years after licencing.
Those who preach regularly and take responsibility for interpreting scriptures in the Church must not be naive, or under prepared. A preacher needs God’s gifting, but also equipping by the church, so that they handle the scriptures in a mature and authentic way, leading to thoughtful worship and sensitive pastoral work.
The courses and learning opportunities we offer will help candidates find these qualities and sustain them through their ministry.
Considering Becoming a Reader?
Talk first with your minister as their support is vital. They will help you find other Readers to explore what is involved n Reader Ministry. If you have no formal theological training then consider joining Exploring Christianity. In due course your incumbent can put you in touch with your Archdeaconry Warden of Readers to take the discernment process further.