What is a Reader?

Readers are lay people in the Church of England, from all walks of life, who are called by God, theologically trained and licensed to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work.

The office of Reader is the only lay ministry in the Church of England which is voluntary, nationally accredited, episcopally licensed and governed by canon law.  There are currently over 10,000 Readers in the Church of England, with men and women represented almost equally.

All sorts of people are called to Reader ministry – from those in their twenties to those in their sixties, those who are single and those who are busy parents or grandparents.  God calls a variety of people as Readers from all walks of life.  He calls accountants, police officers, teachers, factory workers and youth workers, stay-at-home parents and the recently retired to train and minister as Readers in his church.

Readers serve, alongside clergy, as bridges between church and community, and they need to be team players if they are to exercise this ministry effectively. Selection and Training for Reader Ministry must do justice to all aspects of Reader ministry. Readers need to be articulate in their preaching and teaching, yet both preaching and teaching should be firmly rooted in their Monday to Saturday lives.