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Here to help

Toby Hole

Director of Mission and Ministry

How often do I need to undertake a review? 

Readers in the Diocese of Sheffield are now asked to undertake a full review of their ministry once every three years. This replaces the former system of a full review every five years and a lighter annual review. The review will be undertaken with you by another reader who will help you reflect. You will also need to meet with your Oversight Minister before your review. 

What do I need to do to renew my five-year licence? 

A Reader’s Licence is time limited to five years, at the end of which time it may be renewed at the Annual General Meeting. You will need to have the approval of your Oversight Minister and PCC in order for the licence to be renewed and you will also need to have completed a review of your ministry within the previous three years and be fully up-to-date with safeguarding training and DBS checks. 

I have changed churches, who do I need to tell? 

If you change churches then, with the Oversight Minister and PCC’s permission you may continue to exercise your ministry as Reader. Please let one of the wardens of readers know and they can arrange for the correct paperwork to be sent to you and the Oversight Minister. 

I am over 70, how do I apply for Permission to Officiate (PTO)? 

You can find a PTO form on the Useful Resources page of this website. To apply for PTO you will need the approval of your Oversight Minister and PCC and you will need to be up-to-date with safeguarding training and DBS checks. You may apply for PTO for one, two or three years. 

How often should I meet with my oversight minister for supervision? 

When you become a reader you should complete a ministry agreement with your Oversight Minister. This should specify, amongst other things, how often you should meet together for supervision. This may depend on much ministry you undertake in the church. For readers who are preaching regularly and undertaking other forms of ministry in the church and community, a good rule of thumb might be to meet with your Oversight Minister every four to eight weeks. 

What is the difference between a Reader and a focal minister? 

Focal ministry and Reader ministry are two distinct ways of serving God in the church and community, although a Reader may also be a Focal Minister. Focal Ministers, preferably working as part of a Focal Ministry team, are called to be the public face and point of contact within a particular congregation and/or community. They are authorised by the bishop and act under the supervision of an Oversight Minister. Although, as part of their calling, individual Focal Ministers may engage in some aspects of worship and teaching, their primary focus is leadership of the ministry and mission in their parish. The distinctive calling of a Reader is to be a minister of word and worship – to preach and teach God’s people and to assist in the gathering of the people’s praises.  

Readers are also called to serve outside of the boundaries of the church and to be Christ’s presence in the world. Focal ministers and Readers are likely to work together within a ministry team, and their roles may at times overlap, but their calling is quite distinct from each other.