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Readers are lay people who, following a call from God, are trained and licensed by the Church to teach the faith, enable mission and lead in church and society.

Are you someone who:

  • is enthusiastic about their faith?
  • makes connections between faith and everyday life?
  • wants to help others grow as disciples?
  • wants to encourage the church in mission?

If the answer is yes, God might be calling you to ministry as a Reader.

“Readers are trained and equipped as lay theologians to interpret the texts of Holy Scripture in the any contexts of today’s church and world.”

Bishop Christopher

Readers enable Christians to live out their Christian faith in the places where they spend the majority of their time. As people who daily move between the worlds of work, home, social networks and church, Readers can teach the faith and play a part in leadership such that all God’s people grow in confident and humble witness to God’s kingdom. They typically collaborate with their incumbent to read out to the church and the local community.  Reader ministry might include:

  • leading services of the Word
  • preaching
  • leading bible studies
  • pastoral care
  • funeral ministry

What qualities are required for reader ministry?

Readers should have:

  • a desire to learn from Scripture, tradition and the development of Christian thought, and a willingness to engage with hard questions
  • a personal commitment to Christ, a desire to make God known in the world in word and deed and potential for expressing themselves well in communicating the Good News, in conversation as well as in writing
  • a desire to grow closer to God through worship, prayer, Bible reading, study and reflection, and openness to spiritual growth and change
  • personal integrity, self-awareness, and emotional stability and maturity
  • a sense of call to lay ministry motivated by a desire to serve
  • a willingness to commit to learning and formation.

They should also be:

  • trustworthy, honest, approachable and faithful members of the Body of Christ, with the ability to form, develop and maintain healthy relationships, and to interact well with a variety of people
  • collaborative and able to work with a variety of different types of people
  • be 62 years or younger at the point of entering training.

What should I do if I believe that God is calling me to Reader ministry?

First of all, speak to people you trust and who know you well, and listen to what they have to say. Make sure you speak to your parish priest or chaplain, as they will assist you in beginning to discern your sense of calling.

The Vocations team runs a number of events to help you explore your vocation. Please keep an eye on the What’s On page to find out more.

Once you are ready to begin the formal process of discernment, your parish priest or chaplain can book you on a Vocations Forum.

Vocations Forums usually take place at Trinity House, near London Bridge, although during the Coronavirus pandemic they are being held online over Zoom.

At a Forum you will have an opportunity to talk and listen to others who also believe that God may be calling them, to reflect on what the Bible says about ministry and to think about your own journey of faith so far.

Your parish priest or chaplain can book you on a Vocations Forum by e-mailing Sue Stewart, the Vocations Department Administrator (contact details below).

What’s next?

At the end of the Forum, you will be asked if you would like to continue to explore your vocation. If you decide to go ahead, you will be assigned a Vocations Advisor who will work with you in discerning your vocation further and make a recommendation as to whether you should proceed to selection.

The selection process

You will be asked to fill in an application form, to get the support of your Incumbent/Chaplain and the PCC, and to provide the names of references who can comment on your suitability for Reader ministry.

You may then be invited to a selection panel, who will recommend whether they discern that it is appropriate for you to be equipped for Reader ministry.

How will I be equipped?

Equipping for Reader ministry has two stages. The first, a two-year part-time course, is undertaken in partnership with St Augustine’s College of Theology, where an outline of this training can be found. After this there are two further years of less intensive development for Readers run by the Diocese and mainly focused on the parish.

After the initial two years of training, Readers are licensed by the Bishop and begin to serve in their parish, alongside their continuing training.

After training you will complete a working agreement with your Incumbent and be commissioned or licensed by the Bishop.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2021. All rights reserved.
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