Licensed Lay Ministry (Readers)

“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.”

Programme Overview

SWMTC delivers part-time training to prepare students to become Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers) in the Dioceses of Exeter & Truro. The two-year training programme normally follows completion of the one-year Foundations in Christian Ministry course.

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

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

The Programme

The training has three dimensions:

1.   Academic study of the Bible, doctrine and theology

2.   Skills in ministry, consisting of training in leading worship, preaching, teaching, mission and pastoral skills

3.   Personal spiritual formation, involving growth in the student’s understanding of the nature of ministry, of the self, and of God as the source of all

The taught commitment for each year is: 7 residential weekends at Marjon University, Plymouth (from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime), 7 online classes and 14 Reflective Practice Seminars.  

The dates for 2024/25 are:

7-8 September 2024

19-20 October 2024

30 November – 1 December 2024

18-19 January 2025

1-2 March 2025

3-4 May 2025

7-8 June 2025

In the second year of training LLMs will attend two days of the Easter/Lent School covering Death, Dying & Bereavement. 

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

Students receive support from SWMTC staff, their Incumbent and a Journal Tutor



Our students have the opportunity to undertake two placements during training, according to the following pattern:

Year 1 – a home parish placement, which includes preaching, leading worship, and parish analysis.

Year 1 and 2 – over the summer a placement in a church of a different tradition or setting.

How To Apply

Enquiries: If you are considering training for LLM (Reader) ministry, your own home minister should be the first contact. If this is not possible, you may contact: 

In the Diocese of Exeter, the Assistant Warden of LLMs (Readers), Carol Price,

In Truro Diocese, Deputy Warden, Revd Canon Paul Arthur,

Entry requirements: Applications should be made through your local diocese, which has a formal selection process.

Fees: The Dioceses will cover the tuition fees and library membership for the year of Foundations in Christian Ministry and the two years of LLM 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