Vocation - Reader Ministry
IS GOD CALLING YOU TO READER MINISTRY?
How is God calling you?
God calls us in many different ways. You might have a feeling deep in your bones that’s been there for years. Or maybe the call comes as a bolt from the blue as you listen to a sermon or take communion or walk the dog. Perhaps friends and people in your church have seen it and mentioned it – and perhaps you’ve ignored them for a while, but now you’re beginning to wonder if they’re right.
God calls all sorts of people at all sorts of times in their lives – young and old, rich and poor – regardless of race or nationality or career or qualifications. God needs all sorts of people to reach out and serve all sorts of people.
What is Reader ministry?
Readers are laypeople who have been trained for ministry and licensed by the Bishop. Readers in Newcastle diocese are licensed to preach and teach the gospel, to lead worship, to develop a supportive ministry for those exploring their faith, and to energise others to be drawn to God.
They do this in lots of different ways:
- Working in their parishes with their vicars and local ministry teams to develop and implement Mission Action Plans
- Working with children and young people in schools and youth work
- Working as chaplains in hospitals, shops, schools and other settings
- Taking funerals
- Running Lent groups, housegroups and other study groups
- Leading worship
- Taking communion to housebound people
- And much, much more.
The calling to be a Reader is a calling to the whole person, and Readers are Readers all the time, in everything they do.
What’s involved in exploring Reader ministry?
Reader ministry is both joyful and demanding. Any calling must be tested. When a candidate for Reader ministry is supported for selection by their incumbent and PCC, they will have their calling tested through the Diocesan selection for training process.
After preparing by reflecting on the criteria for Reader ministry [link to steps leaflet?] they will attend a day, usually in May, when they will meet with a panel of interviewers and with Readers to be interviewed and to ask their questions about Reader ministry. They may then be recommended for training as a Reader.
Reader training usually lasts 3 years and is done with the Lindisfarne Regional Training Partnership. Training involves:
- Learning about the Bible, church history, church life and Christian doctrine
- Skills training – including placements
- ‘formation’ – learning to become a person ready for Reader ministry.
If you think this may be your calling
- Pray – take time to speak to God about this, and to listen for the answers. Ask one or two others to pray for you and with you too.
- Talk – see your vicar, talk through your sense of calling. If you have a Local Ministry Development Team, let them know about your exploration and listen to them. You may also be encouraged to talk with a Diocesan Vocations Adviser or another Reader
- Read and reflect – you may be able to borrow books from your vicar or using the Resources Centre at Church House. Some suggested books can be found here. You will see that some are specific to Reader ministry while others are about ordained ministry or more general.
- Newcastle Readers website www.newcastlereaders.co.uk
- National Readers website www.readers.cofe.anglican.org
- Steps to Reader ministry leaflet
- After Sunday www.aftersunday.org.uk
- London Institute for Contemporary Christianity www.licc.org.uk
If you want to talk to someone about your calling, please call Church House on 0191 270 4100.