Reader Ministry

The office of Reader is one of the oldest in the Church. The growth in Reader ministry has been one of the great success stories in the Church of England and there are now over 10,000 Readers, of whom there are around 80 active in Hereford Diocese. It is the only lay ministry that is voluntary, nationally accredited, episcopally licensed and governed by Canon.

In the Church, Readers can be distinguished from their ordained colleagues by the distinctive blue Readers’ scarf. Readers exercise what is sometimes called a teaching and preaching ministry within a pastoral context. They lead worship, teach and preach, and are engaged in a great variety of other roles according to their context. Some examples include pastoral work, leading Bible study groups, baptism, confirmation and marriage preparation, school assemblies, and taking funerals. 

They are sometimes described as 'lay theologians': their close contact with everyday situations helping them to interpret the Gospel, and to proclaim Christ's teaching both in the Church and well beyond it. Many are involved in planting new congregations and in building bridges between Church on the one hand and the workplace or community on the other.


Readers Committee

Hereford Diocesan Readers' Association(HDRA)meets quarterly; Readers' events are listed in the main events pages and are advertised in the Diocesan weekly eNews. The committee is composed of fourteen members and is presided by  The Bishop of Hereford, Rt Revd Richard Jackson supported by the Warden, this is presently held by Revd Dr John Daniels

Transforming Local Lay Ministry

The Church of England is committed to transforming local lay ministry. You can find out more about what lay ministry involves and the opportunities to explore it from the transforming ministry website


Hereford Diocesan Readers' Association (HDRA)


Deanery of Sub-wardens of Readers


Contact Information

Please contact the Warden of Readers Revd Dr John Daniels

Useful resources

If you wish to talk to someone about becoming a Reader, please contact the Warden of Readers Revd Dr John Daniels

We also have a number of documents to support you in your role as a Reader:

  • Reader Prayer Diary
  • Payment of fees for voluntary ministers
  • Readers Admission & Licensing service
  • Working Agreement template
  • Reader ministry nomination form
  • Vacancies & accredited ministers
  • A grievance procedure for licensed ministers
  • Form to request a licence/PTO for a Reader transferring from another benefice
  • Annual Review & Report Form
  • Travel expenses claim form
  • Readers Licensing service
  • Bishop's Regulations for Reader Ministry
  • On becoming a Reader - leaflet
  • Think again about Reader ministry
  • Supporting a Reader - a guide for PCCs
  • HDRA Constitution