Reader Training in the Diocese of Chester

Exploring Reader Ministry

If you feel that you may be called to Reader ministry it is helpful to explore it thoroughly.   Begin by doing the following:

  • Pray that God will help you to know whether you are being called to this ministry
  • Talk with your incumbent to explore your calling further
  • Discuss your ideas and feelings with your family, friends, other members of your church fellowship and if possible with a Reader.
  • Consider the demands on your life and the training involved.

Reader Training Leaflet

How long does Reader Training take?

The Initial Reader Training course (All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry) is two years long. You do have to have done some Christian learning before you start the course, such as an Alpha or Emmaus course, or similar learning.

The first year of the course for Diocese of Chester trainees is the Foundations for Ministry (FfM)  course.  Trainees do need that basic grounding before the course but you don’t need to have a theology degree or be a great academic. This open access course will stretch you but is designed to be practical as well as theoretical, and will give you a good grounding for later learning. Those considering Readership must undertake the university validated route through FfM and must have gained 60 academic credits prior to beginning the All Saints course. These initial credits enable learners to fulfil the university requirements for level 5 study, which is the usual standard for the second year of training at All Saints.

However, if you have done a theology degree or a ministry training course of some sort, you might qualify for exemption from parts of the course. This will be discussed if you are selelcted for Reader trianing as exemptions have to be carefully negotiated with the validating bodies.   Initial Training isn’t the end. After successful completion of one year on FfM and two years at All Saints, you are licensed as a Reader but after that there is a standard ‘menu’ of training. Through this further training you may be able to gain a Foundation Degree if you wish. There is also a wide range of courses put on by the Diocese in a variety of topics and skills, as well as a generous annual grant for further training.

You will need the support and agreement of your incumbent and your PCC to proceed with Reader training. Your incumbent will then contact the Warden of Readers, Revd Vivien Gisby, (tel: 01928 573798  e-mail: Vivien Gisby) for an application pack which must be submitted by the 30 April in a given year.

Your call from God will be discerned through a diocesan selection process which will be completed by the end of June to start training that autumn.

What’s involved?

Reader candidates from this Diocese now train alongside ordinands from the Dioceses of  Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Southwell & Nottingham, and Sodor & Man, and also lay and ordained ministry trainees from ecumenical partner churches. This training scheme is administered by the Regional Training Partnership, in which the Diocese of Chester is a major partner.

Note the main points of the distinctive pathway for those training as Readers:

  • Week night evenings at one of the following venues (Bury, Chester, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester and Wigan - there are also opportunities for on-line e-learning).
  • Four Saturdays per year specifically for those training as Anglican Readers.
  • One residential weekend per year specifically for Reader trainees from the Diocese of Chester.
  • Trainees will also be expected to take part in a structured course of post-licensing training after this initial three years of training. The course is shared with other Anglican dioceses and ecumenical partners - however, throughout the training course Reader candidates from the Diocese of Chester will have a Pastoral Tutor and a Director of Studies.

Members of staff from our own diocese will also be regularly involved in delivering the training on the course. The All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry course has an overall Course Director, however, specific queries about Reader training are probably best directed to the Director of Studies for Readers for the Diocese of Chester.

What work do I have to do?

As well as attending the sessions and doing reading and independent study, you are asked to complete a number of assignments. These assignments aren’t simply ‘academic essays’ - there are projects, tasks involving writing talks, sermons and other types of parish communication and options for how you are assessed. There are also written essays (as any Reader needs to be able to organise and communicate their thoughts) but all the assignments are geared towards applying what you learn to Reader ministry in the Church and the world.

Selection and Formation Guidelines for Readers  

Click here to download the document