The Ministry of Readers
The task of the entire laos, God’s people, is, as the Body of Christ on earth, to continue here the ministry of our Lord, in constant communion with God, in the offering of worship, prayer and thanksgiving, and in seeking to bring souls to God by going out into all the world and preaching the Gospel by word and deed, sacrificially showing forth the divine compassion.
From 1560 onwards provision was made for ‘sober, honest and grave’ laymen to exercise a limited form of parochial ministry, in the absence of a clergyman. However, the history of the office of reader in its present form dates from 1866. This form of lay ministry is authorized under Canons E4-6 (The Canons of the Church of England, 1969). The duties which may be assigned to readers include: The reading of Morning and Evening Prayer (except the Absolution) and of the Litany, the publication of Banns of Marriage, distributing the Bread and Wine at the Eucharist, officiating at the Burial of the Dead, preaching, and generally giving an incumbent such assistance in his pastoral work as the bishop may direct. Readers, after examination, are formally admitted to their office by the bishop, from whom they receive a licence to function respectively either as a diocesan or a parochial reader.
Training for Lay Ministry:
Accredited Lay Ministers (Readers) are selected and trained alongside candidates for ordained ministry (See: TTAC Ordination Policy Document, 2013). This training, over two years, will involve an extensive grounding in theology and pastoral studies and in formation.
Authorization for Lay Ministry:
The authorization of lay ministries is important for a number of reasons. It gives those involved formal permission to act and it gives affirmation to them and to the particular form of ministry involved. It can help to clarify the nature and purpose of a particular form of ministry and what is expected of those who exercise that ministry. It makes it clear that what is being undertaken is being undertaken on behalf of the Church.
The Principal Examining Chaplain,
C/o TTAC Diocesan Office,
The Priory and Cathedral Church of St. Katherine,