There are at present 17 Diocesan Readers, with 3 in training. There are also two retired Readers.
There are at present 42 Parish Readers. There are also two retired Parish Readers.
Any person (man or woman) wishing to be considered for training as a Reader should approach his or her rector, whose assessment in confidence will be required. The applicant is interviewed by the Candidates’ Committee, consisting of the Archdeacon of Armagh, the Warden of Readers, the Assistant Warden of Readers, and the Diocesan Director of Ordinands and the Assistant Director of Ordinands which reports to the Archbishop, whose decision determines whether or not the person is to be accepted for training. At the conclusion of the course, assuming that the trainee has been found suitable in every respect, there is a public service of commissioning.
A Parish Reader’s licence is for three years (or until there is a vacancy in the parish) but is renewable at the discretion of the Archbishop. During a vacancy in the parish the Archbishop may give permission to officiate to Parish Readers on a case by case basis. No Parish Reader transferring to another parish may function as such in his or her new parish without permission in writing from the Archbishop.
A new system of training largely by distance learning but with input from the local tutorial team is currently being introduced in most dioceses in the Church of Ireland. If and when implemented in the Diocese of Armagh there will be costs involved, to be borne partly by the Diocese and partly by the individuals in training.
Under regulations approved by the General Synod and incorporated into the 2004 edition of the Book of Common Prayer Readers may administer both Bread and Cup as required.
All readers (and those in training) are encouraged to have fellowship in the Guild of Readers which meets for an annual Quiet Day in Armagh and on several other occasions during the year.