A student at All Saints

Reader ministry

What is a Reader?

The specific role of a Reader may vary from one Diocese to another and even from parish to another, but in general a Reader is a lay person, called by God, theologically trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, and lead worship. The role is often described as ‘theologically educated and culturally engaged.’

The office of Reader is the only lay ministry in the Church of England which is voluntary, nationally accredited, Episcopally licensed and governed by canon. There are now over 10,000 Readers, with men and women represented almost equally. Click here for the national website for Reader ministry.

Training for Reader Ministry

All Saints trains people for Reader ministry in the dioceses of Chester, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Sodor & Man and Southwell & Nottingham. Each diocese has a Director of Studies for Readers who oversees the training of Readers from that diocese as well as being part of the All Saints course team. The Reader course takes two years part-time.

Reader training has four significant elements:

  • Study
    Each year students take 3 modules a year. Two of these modules are delivered on weeknight evenings (one module in the first half of the year and the other module in the second half); one module is delivered at weekends on 6 study days throughout the year. Click here for an overview of the course.
  • Placement
    Once training begins, students are on placement in their home parish and their incumbent is expected to offer appropriate supervision and opportunity to develop new skills, preach and take part in leading worship.  Some time after Christmas of the first year, all students also do an external placement in a different setting – click here for more details on placements
  • Preaching and worship-leading
    In both home and external placements, trainee Readers are expected to be involved in regular preaching and worship-leading.
  • Bible Reading
    During the two years of the course all students are expected to read the whole Bible, with guidance and resources available to help them do this.
“The last two years of training have been challenging but really enjoyable. As I’m a busy working mum with three children aged between 10 and 14 and the owner of a small private zoo consisting of various pets which seems to be constantly expanding. I’m living proof that you can do all things through Christ!”Julie, licensed Reader