Reader Ministry

What is Reader Ministry?

reader logoReaders are lay people who exercise a vital ministry in the Church. They are licensed to preach, teach and lead worship but they also work in a huge variety of other roles, in pastoral work, in training and education and much more. Perhaps most importantly, they are theologically trained lay people who act as a skilled resource for the church. Readers also carry out the vitally important ministry of being informed lay people living out their faith in a huge variety of different walks of life - as a lay ministry, it shouldn’t just be centred around ‘churchy’ activities. There are just under 500 licensed Readers in the Diocese of Chester - one of the highest figures for a Diocese in the Church of England.

Reader Ministry as whole in this Diocese is under the care of the Warden of Readers, who works with a team of people to support Reader ministry. There is an assistant warden for each archdeaconry and each local deanery has a sub-warden of Readers, whose task is to help the Readers in that deanery to work and grow together.

For more specific information on the Reader Training course you can contact:

Revd Liz Shercliff, Director of Studies for Readers Contact details: tel: 07889 217922

Email: or

Revd Canon Vivien Gisby, Warden of Readers, tel: 01928 573798  Email: Vivien Gisby


Reader Training in the Diocese of Chester

2018 Reader AGM and Licensing Service

Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) In-Service Training Grants


Working Agreements for Licensed Readers: refer to Section 8 of the Reader Handbook

Reader Handbook Revised September 2019 (See this for information on becoming a Reader, post-licensing support, the transfer process, becoming Emeritus and much more.)

Reader Transfers

Please see the Reader Handbook for more details. Please note that the Reader Transfer Form must be returned by the end of July in the year the transfer is taking place. If you have any queries please contact either the Warden of Readers or Church House.

Reader Transfer Form

Readers Emeritus

Implications for the Reader on becoming Emeritus:

  1. Need to decide whether or not to apply for Permission to Officiate (PTO);
  2. If so, obtain agreement of incumbent and PCC;
  3. Complete application form and return to the Warden of Readers;
  4. Make a note to attend the next annual Reader licensing service to receive PTO from the bishop;
  5. Discuss ongoing role and working agreement with incumbent.  It is good practice, but not required, to continue to have a Written Working Agreement;
  6. On becoming Reader Emeritus, there need be no change in working arrangements with the parish, but the Reader may wish to change or reduce the workload with time;
  7. Bear in mind no further editions of The Reader magazine will be delivered, nor will any CMD grant be available from the diocese.  Check with the PCC for arrangements for training and book grants;
  8. Let the Deanery Sub-Warden know informally of your intentions.

Implications for the incumbent when a Reader becomes Emeritus:

  1. Need to decide whether it is still appropriate for the Reader to officiate, if s/he decides to apply for PTO;
  2. Need to obtain PCC minute approval;
  3. Make a note to attend the next annual Reader licensing service to witness Reader receiving PTO from bishop;
  4. Initiate the conversation about Reader's continuing role and ministry within the parish.  Bear in mind that the Reader may wish to change or reduce their workload with time; and may require guidance and support in this;
  5. Clarify with PCC what its policy is on CMD and book grants for Readers Emeritus;
  6. Inform the Deanery Sub-Warden as a courtesy, and note that PTO will need to renewed by the DWS at three-yearly interviews.



Reader Emeritus Form

Sub-wardens and Representative Readers

Who’s Who

If you have any enquiries about Reader Ministry, the people below would be happy to help.

Warden of Readers is Revd Canon Vivien Gisby Contact details: Church House, 5500 Daresbury Park, Daresbury, Warrington WA4 4GE tel: 01928 573798  Email: Vivien Gisby

Peter Bacon is the PA to the Warden of Readers and is based at Church House. Tel: 01928 718834 ext 237. Email:

News and information for Readers
Open News and information for Readers

Reader Training in the Diocese of Chester
Open Reader Training in the Diocese of Chester

Deanery Sub-Wardens and Representative Readers
Open Deanery Sub-Wardens and Representative Readers