Reader Training

What is a Reader?

In recent years there have been some questions around the role of a Reader, particularly in light of the changing context in which the Church of England finds itself, the growing number of people involved in ministry in diverse ways both inside and outside of the church and, in some cases, exercising authorised ministries such as occasional preaching, leading worship, and taking funerals. All these have traditionally been understood as being in the domain of Readers.

We believe that all are called to ministry and that Readers exercise their calling as Lay Theologians within their local communities. Within this there are three areas of specific interest for Readers: to be encouraging enablers of mission; to be inspirational teachers of the faith; and to be skilled mentors or coaches of others. It is with this at the heart of our thinking that we have shaped the Reader Training Programme in 2019.

From September 2019 a new teaching programme will be delivered to trainees, a copy of which can be found here.

What does training involve?

The programme:

  • Is a two year, part-time programme. Each year incorporates 15 week nights at The Stafford Beacon Centre, three residential weekends and two Saturday sessions which will be held at Queen’s Theological College, Birmingham.
  • Gives students the opportunity to achieve a Certificate of Higher Education in Theology, Ministry and Mission.
  • Encourages students to reflect on their personal formational, with the help of their Parish Supervisors and Formation Mentors, with whom students are expected to meet on a regular basis.
  • Asks students to reflect on and evaluate their own ministry and the opportunities for mission and ministry in their local context.
  • In the first year has at its heart an intentional focus on a student’s local context and the core essence of Reader Ministry – leading worship and preaching.
  • In the second year asks students to think beyond their current context and to consider their own ministry and mission in a broader context of the Church’s history and contemporary society.

The parish is involved in discerning the vocation of ‘their’ candidate, in supporting them through training, and in working with them, after licensing, in local mission and ministry.  

If you have any questions or queries about the Reader Programme please contact Rev Dr Jeanette Hartwell, who is our Director for Reader Training at or sign-up for one of the Reader Taster Evenings “Taste and See” happening around the diocese:

Stafford area - 24th June 2019 - St. John The Baptist Church, Littleworth.

Shrewsbury area - 27th June 2019 - Emmanuel Church, Harlescott.

Wolverhampton area - 1st July 2019, The Church at Perton, Anders Square, Perton.

For more information email

The Bishop of Lichfield’s guidance on age limits for licensed ministry are available here.

‘I didn’t think I could do it – but it’s been one of the best experiences of my life!’ 

That’s a frequent comment from people who have felt called by God – but anxious about their own gifts, abilities or confidence. But Reader training is transformative, bringing out gifts and skills people don’t expect, helping them grow in God, and in confidence, equipping them for their ministry and mission.