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Readers are licensed lay ministers. If you believe you are being called to this kind of ministry, this page explores the discernment, selection and training process.

What qualities should a Reader have?

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

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

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

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.

Selection and training

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.

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.

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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