Is God Calling You?

Opportunities for ministry and mission

By baptism all Christians are called to play a part in the mission of the church. For all of us this means living out our faith where we are, serving God in the world and the church. For some, God calls them into particular forms of ‘recognised’ ministry.  Here we give you an overview of the different forms of ministry that are licensed or recognised within the Diocese of Chester.  You can follow the links to find out more about each one.

Church Army

Church army evangelists are full-time lay workers who resource Anglican Churches, projects and teams throughout the British Isles.  They work in evangelism, outreach to young people, church planting, support for homeless people and service to older people.  Working at parish, deanery and diocesan level, their aim is to help local Christians to be effective in their mission to the community.

To apply for training, you should normally be at least 18 years old, be a confirmed and active member of a church within the Anglican Communion and have some experience of the world of work and a capacity for leadership.  Training usually lasts for 3 years.

To find out more: Contact

The Vocations Team
Church Army
Wilson Carlile Centre,
50 Cavendish Street
Sheffield S3 7RZ.

Tel. 0300 123 2113 or email:


A Reader in the Church of England isn’t just someone who reads the lesson from the Bible in a Sunday service.  Readers do much more than that.  They are members of Anglican congregations in all walks of life who are authorised in a voluntary capacity to preach and teach and lead worship.

Their work will vary from parish to parish according to the particular needs of each situation and the time each person is available.  In the Diocese of Chester an incumbent may ask a Reader to take funeral services or to take Holy Communion to the sick or housebound.  As theologically trained lay people they are often leaders of study groups and involved with pastoral care. 

This is a distinctly ‘up front’ ministry demanding maturity of faith and character, skills in communication, and a strong commitment to the local church.

Readers are part of the leadership of their local church, working with clergy and under their authority.  A Reader is licensed by the Bishop to a parish and the licence is renewable every three years.  They need the agreement of the Parochial Church Council, who pay for the training which usually takes three years’ study. 

To find out more
Talk to your incumbent who may ask you to contact
the Revd Simon Chesters, Director of Ministry 

Ordained Ministry

Ordained ministers are those who are called to represent the people they serve in a very particular and public way.  They are leaders who are authorised to equip church members for ministry in the world and serve whole communities through worship, organisation, teaching, pastoral care and the sacraments.

Most priests in the diocese are incumbents or a priest-in-charge of parishes.  Some move out into more specialised areas of work such as chaplaincies in hospital, prison, education, industry or the forces.  Some are ministers in secular employment.

People over 30 usually train for three years part time with the Regional Training Partnership or two years full time at a college.  Younger people take longer; older, suitably qualified and experienced candidates might do it more quickly.

What is required?
Any sense of vocation must be matched by a strong personal faith, spirituality, vision, intellectual ability and integrity.  You must be able to relate to a wide range of people and to combine organisational and pastoral skills in empowering others for ministry.

To find out more
Talk to your vicar who may get you to contact 

Pastoral Workers

A Pastoral Worker is a layperson called to work in pastoral ministry in a voluntary capacity.  This usually means involvement in pastoral care and visiting, including contacts through baptism, weddings, bereavement and illness - and in enabling others to work in these areas.  It may also include taking Holy Communion to the sick or housebound.

Pastoral Workers’ ministry will vary depending on their gifts and the needs in the parish.  Pastoral Workers are licensed by the Bishop to an area of ministry determined in that parish and agreed with the incumbent and PCC.  The licence is renewed every three years.  Pastoral Workers are part of the leadership of their local church, working with clergy and under their authority.

Training usually takes three years.  After the one-year Foundations for Ministry course there is a further two years of training in Pastoral Skills, which includes a parish-based project.

This is not so much an ‘up-front’ ministry but requires people of Christian maturity and integrity who are gifted at listening to and working with people in a variety of ways.

To find out more
Talk to your incumbent who may get you to contact the Revd Simon Chesters, Director of Ministry 

Religious Life

There are over 60 different Religious Communities in the Anglican Communion, with about 1200 ‘sisters and brothers’ who feel called to live our their faith under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  Communities vary; some are large, some small, some enclosed and some working the community.

People who apply to a Community are usually aged between 21 and 45.  Academic qualifications are not essential.  There is a discernment period of about 3 years before vows can be taken.

To find out more

A First step — the Foundations for Ministry course

The diocese runs a one-year training course for people who want to learn more about their God-given gifts and calling to live out their faith. It is an opportunity for people to learn more and explore the different aspects of Christian service. Foundations forms the first year of training for Pastoral Workers — and from September 2011 — Readers but many people use it as a way of exploring their vocation. See Foundations for Ministry page to find out more.

Contact Jane Hood at Church House on 01928 643428

Who to contact about vocations

Need an informal chat about how best to serve?

Why not contact one of our  Deanery Vocations Listeners?  These are experienced people spread across the diocese who are able to talk through how you can best serve God.


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