Pastoral support for licensed lay ministers (readers) in the Church of England
Church of England Readers are lay people from all walks of life who are called by God, theologically trained and licensed by the church to minister and perform certain roles in the local churches or to be chaplains within cathedrals, institutions, the NHS and many more places. Why after three years of training and many years of experience in Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) ministry have I finally not been accepted for Ordination training? This is a question which has been posed to me on many occasions in my role as Continuing Ministerial Development Officer for Readers and Recognised Lay Ministers in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Often Readers perceive that their ministry is a foothold towards ordination and they feel very dejected when they realise that this is not the case. One question I sought to answer was Who, if anyone, provided pastoral support to the Readers who were unsuccessful at Bishop’s Advisory Panels and what adequate, sensitive support might be offered within the Church of England Dioceses? I sought the answers from the Wardens of Readers and Diocesan Directors of Ordinands in the forty two dioceses to ascertain a wider selection of answers. This process was not easy as there were changes of staff in some dioceses and I did not have the up to date staffing information Therefore fewer dioceses then expected answered the questionnaires. A number of Readers from different dioceses were pleased to talk through their good and bad experiences with me. I have sought to answer the following question. "How might Readers receive adequate support after being unsuccessful at a Bishops Advisory Panel and who might be the best person to offer this support?
- Theology