The initial training for Reader ministry is thorough and students follow the three-year Norwich Diocesan Ministry course, which is currently accredited as a foundation degree by Anglia Ruskin University.
The Church’s ministry in the twenty-first century is demanding and it is vital that its public ministers have a meaningful prayer life, a sound biblical knowledge, are able to reflect theologically and have appropriate pastoral skills to enable them to serve effectively in their communities.
But although the training course is challenging, it is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of students many of whom have not studied in earnest for many years, if at all. The course begins with a week-long summer school, which includes the development of study and IT skills, and the ministry course tutors are all experienced in supporting students with vastly different academic backgrounds.
If, after working with a vocation advisor for some time, you believe that you have a call to Reader ministry, you will be invited to attend a selection day where that call can be tested.
A selection day consists of worship, discussion, individual interview, presentations and written and practical activities, during which a team of experienced selectors will observe you and the other candidates and prayerfully endeavour to discern whether you have a vocation to Reader ministry, whether you need to undertake more work before a decision can be made or whether you should, perhaps, be exploring other avenues of service. Every effort is made during the day to create a relaxed atmosphere in which candidates can do justice to themselves.
It is important to remember that, if the selectors recommend you, their recommendation is that you should commence training for Reader ministry – the process of discernment continues throughout the period of your training