So what is a Reader?
Readers are lay people in the Church in Wales, from all walks of life, who are called by God, theologically informed and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work.
Readers are voluntary and accredited in the Anglican Communion. They are episcopally licensed and governed by canon.
The church currently provides a programme of initial and continued training, which is moderated nationally to ensure consistency in preparing Readers for their office, supporting and helping to keep them up to date.
So, Readers are not just called to read the odd lesson. They are called to “read” so as to interpret the Word of God and the times in which we live.
A Book: Reader Ministry Explored by Paula Gooder SPCK Library of Ministry
What the church looks for when selecting a Reader candidate for training
Candidates should show an understanding of the role of lay ministry in the church both collectively and individually.
Ministry within the Church in Wales
Candidates should show a sensitive appreciation for the language, tradition and culture of the Church in Wales, and be prepared to work within them.
Candidates should show they are committed to a way of life that includes private and public prayer and worship, which should support and inspire them in their everyday lives.
Personality and character
Candidates should be sufficiently mature and stable to cope with the demands of lay ministry. They should be people of integrity.
Candidates should accept their own strengths and weaknesses, using them as a basis for the way they relate to others in their service as lay ministers. They should respect the will of the Church on matters of sexual morality.
Lay leadership and collaboration
Candidates should show that they are capable of leadership in their own Church community and also in the wider community. They should be able to work effectively in a team.
Mission and evangelism
Candidates should be enthusiastic in the way they share their faith with others and work in partnership to encourage others to live the Gospel.
Candidates should show an understanding of the Christian faith and a willingness to grow in that faith. They should be committed to Christ and sharing his Gospel.
Quality of mind
Candidates must be capable of following a course of theological study and preparation for ministry to the level of the first year of a degree, and to cope with the intellectual demands of ministry. They should be computer literate.
The Selection Process
The Diocese of St Davids has an interim selection procedure. We are awaiting agreement for a provincial process.
1 Speak to your parish priest or Area Dean. Check that he or she is content for you to begin a discernment programme.
2 Contact your Archdeaconry Vocations Adviser. This person will listen to your story and help you to see what your vocational pathway could be. This is a time for you to reflect with the Vocations Adviser through reading and perhaps some writing. When the Vocations Adviser is content that you should progress to the next stage:
3 Contact the Associate Warden of Readers who will go through with you the demands of training. The Director of Ministry will have the opportunity to meet you as well.
Your training will be delivered over two years and cover four areas
1 Gaining Experience and Understanding of Reader Ministry
This will be done through placements, usually starting with your own home parish. You will be given chances to preach and lead worship. You will have a placement supervisor to guide you through this. You will also have a personal tutor who will help you reflect on what you have done. As part of this reflection you will produce a portfolio which will show how you are growing in skill and experience.
2. Gaining knowledge of the Faith and relating it to your own ministry
This will happen in small Exploring Faith groups where you will learn alongside people at many different stages of their Christian journey. Together you will explore each year an aspect of the Bible, how the church reaches out to the world and how the faith reaches in to our lives. Those preparing for reader ministry will be expected to turn in some written work at the end of each module and aim for a Certificate in Higher Education.
3. Gaining skills for ministry
The teaching for this takes place at St. Michael’s College in Llandaff, Cardiff during a Summer School and around two weekends a year. Here you will meet with readers in training from all over Wales and what you learn will feed into the work you are doing in your parish placements.
4. Personal Growth
A spiritual director or soul friend will help you enrich your life of prayer and bible study as well as coping with your change of role in the church.
When registering you will be required to complete an enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) check.
During Training your main contact points are:
The Director of Ministry: Ven Dennis Wight
The Course Director for Exploring Faith: The Revd Dr Rhiannon Johnson
The Dean of Non-Residential Studies at St Michaels: Dr Paula Yates