South west ministry training course
Ministry Training

'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)

Reader ministry in the Diocese of Exeter
If you have been sponsored for Reader ministry by the Diocese of Exeter, you will complete your training through SWMTC. From September 2017, Reader training will follow a two-year programme, involving three interrelated areas:

1. Academic study of the Bible, doctrine and church history

2. Formational study in preaching, teaching, mission and pastoral theology in community with others who are being shaped for ministry

3. Ministerial practice and collaborative involvement in parishes and mission communities.

Your training will consist of:

1. A course of study on Christian doctrine and ethics in one year and the Bible and church history in another (these programmes alternate, so you may start in either year)

2. Two residential weekends and four Saturday study days per year. In addition, you will meet with a journal tutor four times a year, at a convenient location close to your home

3. An extended placement during which you spend time in a parish that is different from your own


Many Readers in Training will come to the programme having completed the year-long Foundations in Christian Ministry course that SWMTC also delivers on behalf of the Diocese of Exeter. If you are exceptionally well qualified, or have substantial experience in a public ministry role, you may be considered for direct entry to the two-year Reader training programme.

A Simple Overview of Reader Training

Year 1

Main Focus

  • Preaching
  • Listening Skills
  • An introduction to the Church of England
  • A long placement completed over the summer months at the end of your first year, with a focus on pastoral care
  • Journal work
  • Either biblical studies and church history or Christian doctrine and ethics depending on the year study begins. For more details of evening classes click here


Year 2

Main Focus

  • Worship and Liturgy, with a particular focus on funeral ministry
  • Mission, Fresh Expressions and contemporary culture
  • Journal work
  • Either Biblical studies and church history or Christian doctrine and ethics

If you 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