Lay reader

Lay Readers

Image kindly provided by Ian M Spooner Photography

Readers are lay people in the Church of England who can come from any walk of life.  They are called by God, go through theological training and at the end are licenced by the Bishop to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in many other areas of church life.  There are over 10,000 men and women, in equal number, serving as lay readers in the Church of England.

The Diocese of Sheffield provides its own programme of initial training through the School of Ministry and then through Continuing Ministerial Development. These programmes are moderated nationally to ensure consistency across all dioceses.

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Step 1

If you are considering becoming a lay reader, the first thing to do is have a discussion with your incumbent.  The incumbent  and the PCC (Parochial Church Council) may then recommend you to take this further.  The Diocese of Sheffield provide an information session called the ‘What Next’ open morning where you can find out more and discover if you feel you are making the right decision.  

Step 2

You would then go on to apply for the Foundations 1 year course.   You are required to complete an application form  and meet with the training team to discuss the next step including enrolment on to the Foundations for Ministry course.  For those selected there will be three induction sessions before the course formally starts in September. 

This course gives you an opportunity to continue to test your calling.  Foundations is a one year part-time course and is a prerequisite to further licensed lay ministry training, some even going on to ordination. The course is designed to fit around busy lives and runs from September to July involving one Sunday a month and three Saturdays a year.

Step 3

After the Foundations year is complete you would then need to apply for the School of Ministry which would be a similar format to the Foundations year for at least a further two years' training.

Licensing is not the end, but the beginning of becoming a Reader. To preach the word of God, Readers must keep up their private reading and undertake on-going tuition. There is an expectation that Readers, like all other ministers, will undergo Continuing Ministerial Development. In addition the Central Readers Council puts on periodic national conferences and regional training events, and publishes 'The Reader' magazine.


Visit the Anglican Readers website for more information


Taking this further...

Go to Lay Reader training course

For more details about this process contact:

Trish Stafford, Training Administrator

email    telephone icon 01709 309147


Further Reading

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On Becoming a Lay Reader  - a CofE document


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Roland - Reader Ministry Training

Roland speaks about becoming a Reader and what the training involves.

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Chris & Helen - Reader Ministry

Chris and Helen talk about what they are gaining from Reader Ministry training

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Chris - Reader Ministry Training

Chris speaks about his second year of Reader training.

watch video