Our Mission

In the context of an urban Minster in a progressive and modern town to live out our Benedictine heritage as a place of prayer and hospitality, bringing the light of God and salvation in Jesus Christ to all-comers, whether to our regular congregation or to the passer-by who needs refuge or to the business community that surrounds us.

Our History

How we worship.

In recent years, we have been able to show that our doors are open for God’s business. Our regular services on Sundays and Wednesdays are complimented by midday prayers throughout the week, Bible reflection courses, periodic worship in collaboration with a wide range of services.

How we engage with the wider community.

Throughout the week, the Minster opens its doors for the community. It draws on its Benedictine heritage to provide a welcome, to be hospitable, and to be a place of renewal and refreshment. Our fantastic team of Daytime volunteers are able to offer a cup of tea or coffee, a listening ear and can also signpost people to specific support if needed.

How we engage with Civic Reading.

Throughout the year, Reading Minster provides the sense of occasion, celebration and public mourning for the civic community. We work with the High Sheriff of Berkshire and Reading Borough Council in hosting the annual Opening of the Crown Court and with the office of the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire and the Royal Berkshire regiment on organising Remembrance Day services at the Minster and Cenotaph.

  • A nunnery founded by Queen Elfrida in the late 10th century marked the first Christian building on the current site of Reading Minster.

  • Thomas Becket consecrated Reading Abbey and it stood for four centuries as the centre of ecclesiastical and temporal life of the town. The Abbot was Rector of the Minster until the Abbey's dissolution in 1539.

  • William de Lincoln appointed first Vicar of St. Mary’s.

  • During this century the Jesus Chantry was established in what is now the north transept. The 13th-14th century arch framing the choir vestry door marks the site of the altar dedicated to the “Fraternity of the Guild of Jesus”. Another ancient door is situated to the south of the octagonal priest’s vestry.
    1372: Thomas Colney founded the Colney Chantry where the present Lady Chapel now stands.

  • A stone slab set in the wall of the south porch bears the legend “This church was rebuilt in 1551”. It was in fact extensively restored from 1551 to 1555 and stone and timber from the ruins of Reading Abbey were used in the restoration.

  • An entry in the churchwardens’ accounts for 1574 reads: “It’m for coveringe the new steeple which the winde blewe down…” A severe storm swept over Reading some five or six years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada and it seems that a wooden spire or steeple on top of the tower was damaged or blown down. Whether the steeple was built in its original form or whether the tower top was fashioned as we see it today we do not know, as use of the words ‘steeple’ and ‘tower’ were synonymous at that time.

Our Church

Years of worship
Open doors

Our Team

Reverend Judith Sumner

The Reverend Judith Sumner

Associate Minister
Reverend Andrew Bond

The Reverend Andrew Bond

Associate Vicar

Niall Collier

Church Warden

Richard Ashcroft