Explore a call to Reader ministry

To be considered for this ministry a candidate must be a baptised, confirmed and a regular communicant of the Church of England.

Reader ministry is nationally recognised and transferable within the Church of England, the Church in Wales, and in some other dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion.  This distinguishes Readers from other locally recognised forms of lay ministry, such as that of authorised lay ministers (ALMs), chaplains, pastoral assistants and ‘lay’ lay leaders.

Being able to articulate a sense of calling to a ‘licensed’ lay ministry rather than a call to recognised local lay ministry (or simply as a means to completing some theological training) is an important aspect of the discernment process.

The Discernment & Selection Process

To discern a calling and vocation to Reader ministry, prospective Readers are encouraged to begin by speaking with their incumbent or local priest, as well as with other Readers and members of their congregation. When you're ready, you should also speak with the Warden of Readers: 

Nigel Collins
01227 459401

You may be encouraged to further explore your sense of calling through one of these avenues:

  • Deepening Discipleship – an eight session course which enables participants to explore their own journey of discipleship and their unique calling
  • Explore More – a six session course which enable participants to reflect on their own unique sense of calling by looking at the call of six people in the Bible
  • Come and See – an evening for anyone who wants to find out more about Reader ministry

Contact Marianne Hambrook for more details.

Once youve been in touch with the Warden of Readers and you're ready to take the process forwards, they will arrange for a discernment meeting to take place between the candidate, the incumbent (or local priest), and a Reader Vocations Adviser. The purpose of the meeting is to reflect on what a call to licensed lay ministry might look like both for the candidate and for the parish/ministry context; as well as to answer any questions. The outcome of the meeting will be to come to a mutual decision about whether to make a formal application. 

The Warden will also invite the candidate to attend a discernment panel if appropriate.

The application process

  • The candidate will be asked to complete an application form with their CV and a reflection on their spiritual journey, as well as evidence of baptism and confirmation.
  • The candidate's incumbent and sponsoring PCC will be asked to complete a nomination form and to pass a resolution of support. The incumbent will also be asked to provide a reference.
  • Before attending the Discernment Panel candidates are required to have completed a DBS check and the Basic Awareness and Foundation safeguarding training modules.

The Discernment Panel

The Discernment Panel normally takes place annually in June or July at Diocesan House, in Canterbury. The main purpose of the panel is to consider whether the candidate is being called to a nationally governed ‘licensed’ lay ministry in the Church rather than locally ‘recognised’ lay ministry or something else.

The National Selection criteria are currently under review, and a new discernment framework for lay and ordained ministry is being developed. The panel will be looking for evidence of:

  • discipleship – someone who is an active disciple seeking to grow more Christ-like as they mature in the faith; this will include a commitment to individual bible study and prayer whilst being rooted in a local worshipping community
  • calling – someone who clearly feels called by God to serve in the church and wider community as a ‘commissioned’ lay minister; this calling will have been affirmed by the local church
  • encourager – someone who encourages others to grow in their discipleship and strives to make new disciples
  • potential – someone who has the potential for growth as their discipleship becomes shaped by their calling and formation as a lay minister
  • capacity – someone who has the capacity to undertake the academic study and formational training

But remember, that the panel isn’t looking for the ‘finished article’ at this stage. 

The Bishop makes the final decision about whether to recommend a candidate for training. If recommended, the training course begins in September that year.