The office of Reader originated in Elizabethan times and was widely used in parishes with no incumbent. It was revived in its present form in 1866. Readers are the only nationally accredited voluntary lay ministry which is governed by canon and licensed by the Bishop. Once admitted, their ministry, subject to license, is valid throughout the Anglican Communion.
Today Reader ministry is seen as a teaching and preaching ministry carried out in a pastoral context. Readers are lay theologians from a wide range of occupations and backgrounds which allows them to bring a rich experience of community and worldly life into the worship of the church.
The main Church of England Website has a section dedicated to Reader Ministry.
If you are considering Reader ministry first speak with your incumbent and then with a Vocations Advisor. If your discussions suggests that it is appropriate to explore Reader ministry, he or she will put you in touch with your archdeaconry Warden of Readers who will explore the nature of Reader ministry with you, and will involve your incumbent and PCC in giving their support for you to move ahead in exploration. If appropriate you will be asked to attend a diocesan selection conference.
Training is generally by means of a three-year course provided by the South West Ministry Training Course (SWMTC), with admission to the office of Reader and a one-year training license at the end of the second year.
Readers are able to access the diocesan Pastoral Care and Counselling Service.
Diocesan Warden of Readers
Ven David Gunn-Johnson, Archdeacon of Barnstaple
Email the administrator
For more information on the SWMTC please go to their website.