Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about reader ministry training at All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry. If you have any other questions, please contact us.

What is Reader Ministry?

There is a brief introduction to Reader ministry here. For more information, click here to download the document What is a Reader?  from the Church of England’s central Reader website. Also have a look at the website for your own diocese, which should give some information on Reader Ministry and the people involved with it in your diocese.

I’m really interested in Reader Ministry.  What do I do next?

The first port of call for anyone who feels called to Reader ministry is their own incumbent.  This is partly because Readers are licensed to the incumbent.  Your incumbent can get an application pack from the Diocesan Warden of Readers.

What is the process for selection?

The Warden of Readers arranges selection panels each year.  The panel will either recommend you for training or suggest that you do some more preparatory work with your incumbent.

How long is the training?

The initial Reader training course with All Saints is two years of training, each year running from September to about May. After licensing as a Reader, each diocese has a specific programme of post-licensing training for Readers, usually over a period of another two years and generally involving less work than the initial two years of training.

When does training take place?

Weeknight sessions are organised in three terms with a half-term break in each. Weeknights begin in early September and continue to the end of May. Each Diocese has teaching one evening a week, but All Saints students can attend any centre and are offered a choice at the start of their course.

Where does it happen?

There is a teaching centre in each Diocese, the exact location will be publicised at the start of each year. Weeknight training is delivered in several venues across the region. The number and siting of these varies from year to year according to diocesan needs and the number of students. Currently, the main teaching venues for the North-West are in Blackburn, Liverpool, Manchester and Warrington. There are also centres on the Isle of Man, and in Mansfield (weeknights) and Clay Cross  (weekends) for those from Derby and Southwell & Nottingham.

What about weekend teaching?

For students from Chester, Liverpool and Manchester teaching takes place on 6 Sundays, usually in Warrington.  In the Isle of Man, Derby and Nottingham this may vary.

Is it all about writing essays?

Each module is assessed to make sure that those in training are meeting the required standard for licensing as a Reader. There are assessments for each module but as it says on the page on assessment (click here), they use a variety of methods. There are written assignments, some of which are more like essays than others – as well as exercises like a formal study of a passage from the bible, they include other written exercises like theological reflections, a rule of life, a survey of mission opportunities in a parish,. There are also some exercises which are very much rooted in practical ministry – sermons (both written and also a recorded sermon on video), plans for leading worship, a presentation in a church context

Is it part of a degree course?

All the modules can be studied as part of a Foundation Degree in Mission and Ministry awarded by the University of Chester, but they can also be studied without that university link. Each diocese has its own policy on whether Reader training includes a University award or not – though even where Reader training is not usually for the University award, trainees can elect to pay the additional cost themselves and work towards the Foundation Degree.

How much work is it?

We often say that though the course is part-time, it is not possible to do it in your “spare time”. To complete the Course students must be able to commit to:

  • the formal study programme (up to 30 weeknights and 6 study days)
  • an average of 4 to 5 hours per week in placement activity in your home or external placement church (this includes most of the time trainees already spend on church commitments)
  • up to 5 hours of reading per week, plus the time needed for additional private study, completing assignments, meeting with supervisors and tutors, etc.

Reader training does involve a considerable time commitment, especially in the first two years. In some cases, it is important for trainees to make some space for training by laying down some commitments, including ones at church. However, this needs balancing with the important element of experience in preaching, leading and other areas of ministry. Much depends on how involved trainees already are in these areas. In some cases it is important for people to be preaching slightly less if they are already on the rota a lot – but more often it is important for trainees to be given more opportunity to preach, lead services, do the intercessions etc. In some cases that means drawing back from other areas of ministry in church (eg less commitments in young people’s work or leading a home group).

Resources

There are a variety of resources available to support trainees during their Reader training with All Saints. A significant resource for those on the course is Moodle – this is the name of the online system that we use to support students on the course. Students can access Moodle using a web browser of any computer. Using Moodle we are able easily and quickly to distribute study materials (e.g. session notes, excerpts from books, pictures, and much more) to students, give feedback for assessments, send out messages, and so on. Students are able to use ‘forums’ to talk to each other, share information and discuss the topics they are studying, and submit assignments. Students are shown how to use the system at the beginning of their course. The important point is that all students need to have regular access to the internet or their experience of the course, and indeed their learning, will be affected. Click here for more information on Moodle and other resources.

There are also some key people resources involved in the training:-

  • Placement supervisors – as well as being supervised by someone in their external placement, trainee Readers are supported throughout their training by  a supervisor in their home church. This is a member of the ministry team, often the incumbent or equivalent, and the training is a partnership between the course, the trainee and the home church.
  • Director of Studies – each diocese appoints a director of Studies for Readers. As well as acting as a tutor on specific modules in the course, the Director of Studies works with trainee Readers from their diocese on areas such as arranging placements, writing reports and reviewing progress
  • Course staff – main areas of course administration are handled by the All Saints course office in Warrington, and the Principal and Vice-Principal for the course are also located at Warrington and involved in much of the teaching on the course
  • Course chaplains – a number of course chaplains are available for confidential support to readers during their time on the course
  • Warden of Readers – each diocese has a Warden of Readers who is available for support for trainees where needed and is the key contact for all matters related both to selection, licensing and deployment. Wardens of Readers and Directors of Studies often work with administrative staff at diocesan level who are also involved in these areas.

Finally, a significant part of the course experience is the fellowship and support of your fellow trainees – trainee Readers say that as well as the learning from the formal input and the placement experience, one of the key things they gain from the course is the experience of studying with and getting to know people from other churches and dioceses who are training alongside them for Reader ministry.

“One thing that reader training and ministry has taught me is that you meet some amazing people and friends. I will value and regard the people I have met with high value”.James, licensed Reader
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