What is a Reader?
Readers are lay people, selected for training by their local diocese with the same rigour as ordinands, in response to their sense of calling to a preaching and teaching ministry. They have a rigorous theological training equivalent to clergy and mostly follow a degree course. This generally lasts three years with some extras added on afterwards, though some are licensed after two years with more training following.
They have a ministry within their local team and generally stay where they live, not being deployed as a priest might be in the CofE or RC church. However their licence is recognised nationally, and if they have a move due to family or work circumstances, then they can be licensed in their new parish.
Today's church is more and more diverse and increasingly Readers are finding a ministry in the work place, the community and in chaplaincy, (schools, prisons, hospitals, the armed forces). Their preaching and teaching experience is always used "in a pastoral context", and many are out and about in their communtties, rather than in the more formal role of being robed and leading worship or preaching on a Sunday.
If you think you may be called to the Reader ministry, you should, in the first instance, talk to your Vicar or Priest-in-Charge. Before exploring further with one a Vocations Advisor based in your Archdeaconry.
Click here to email your relevant Vocations Advisor:
The Diocese has a process for selecting Reader candidates, and you would normally enter that process with a recommendation from your parish to the Warden of Readers.
Once you have been recommended for training, the Church of England is committed to offering this free of charge.