South west ministry training course
Ministry Training

The Reader training programme delivered by SWMTC prepares students (sponsored by the Diocese of Exeter) for ministry as a licensed lay Reader in the Diocese and in the wider Anglican Church. It is two-year programme, which normally follows completion of the one-year Foundations in Christian Ministry course.

The training has three dimensions:

a) Academic study – of the Bible, doctrine and theology
b) Ministerial skills – consisting of training in leading worship, preaching, teaching, mission and pastoral skills
c) Personal spiritual formation – involving growth in your understanding of the nature of ministry, of yourself, and of God as the source of it all.

The programme is delivered through:

  • five Saturday study days and two residential weekends
  • weekly term-time evening classes
  • parish-based assignments, plus a summer placement in another parish
  • support from SWMTC staff, your incumbent, and a ‘journal tutor’

The programme normally leads to the award of a Certificate of Theology, Ministry and Mission, awarded by the University of Durham.

The programme’s objectives are -

for the student to develop the necessary skills in:

  • leading corporate acts of worship, in formal and informal contexts
  • preaching
  • pastoral care, including ministering to the bereaved
  • leading discussion groups
  • engaging in the church’s mission in the local forms this takes
  • collaborative and team working

for these skills to be grounded in a sound understanding of:

  • the Bible, Christian theology, doctrine and ethics (studied to Certificate level)
  • the Church of England, the wider contemporary church, and ecumenical and inter-faith considerations
  • contemporary society as the context for ministry and mission

and for the student’s ministry:

  • to be rooted in a strong Christian faith
  • to flow from his/her personal spirituality (whilst also affirming those with a different spirituality)
  • to come from an understanding of how their gifts and vocation fit in the wider church
  • to be flexible and adaptable to context and to changes in the church and society
  • to be aided by skills of personal and theological reflection


'Readers are called to serve the Church of God and to work together with clergy and other ministers. They are to lead public worship, to preach and teach the word of God, to assist at the Eucharist and to share in pastoral and evangelistic work. As authorized lay ministers, they are to encourage the ministries of God’s people, as the Spirit distributes gifts among us all. They are called to help the whole Church to participate in God’s mission to the world.' (From the Reader Licensing Service, Common Worship, 2000)


If yo
u would like to find out more about Reader training at SWMTC, or discuss your potential pathway, please contact the director of lay education, Revd David Carrington: davecarrington@swmtc.org.uk





“I’d like to thank you and all the SWMTC staff for all that they have done to help me reach my licensing as a probationary Lay Reader last Saturday. You’ve all been amazing, patient, knowledgeable, encouraging, caring and..…great fun.”
SWMTC: Contact: Administrator Laura McLachlan on 01392 272544 admin@swmtc.org.uk
South West Ministry Training Course is a company limited by guarantee. Company number 3070559. Charity number 1056606