Ordained Ministry Considering the Ordained Ministry of the Church of Ireland
If you are considering the possibility that you might be called to the Ordained Ministry – then the first step is to go and discuss this with your rector. If you and your rector both agree that there might be a calling to discern – the next stage is for your rector to recommend you to and set up a discussion with your local Diocesan Director of Ordinands. If he or she likewise feels there is a calling to discern then they will probably recommend that you enroll in the Foundation Course – full details of which you can find here. This course is designed to assist you in the process of discerning your call as well as preparing you academically for the subsequent Master in Theology Course. This Course begins in February/March each year and lasts for about a year. During the course of that year you will also be invited to meet your Diocesan Bishop who will decide on your suitability for attendance at a Selection conference. Towards the end of the Foundation Course year if recommended for selection you will be invited to attend a Selection Conference and if accepted at that conference will be free to begin your studies for Ordination training the following September. This involves completion of the Master in Theology programme, details of which can be found here.
Guild of Readers
Warden: Revd. Canon M. C. Kennedy, M.A., B.D. (TCD), Ph.D. (OU).
Assistant Warden: The Revd S.A. Pragnell, B.A. (Hull), M.A. (D.C.U), B.Th. (TCD)
The Revd Sandra Pragnell, Rector of Dundalk, was appointed by the Archbishop of Armagh as Assistant Warden of Readers following the sad death of Mr Alan Stracey, and she was installed in office at a service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on Thursday 22nd June 2006. The appointment has been widely welcomed.
There are at present thirteen Diocesan Readers, with nine in training six of whom are to be commissioned in October. There are also two retired Readers.
There are at present thirty Parish Readers, with none in training.
Selection and training
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 five 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.