The Archbishop's Certificate in Public Worship (ACertPW)

Preliminary Remarks

This award is designed particularly to encourage and assist those with responsibility for public worship in all Christian denominations. It is open to any current member of the Guild who has, or who seeks, responsibility for animating and presiding at public worship within the Church.


This syllabus is effective from 1st October 2013.

The examinations leading to this award are open to all those current members of the Guild who have, or who seek, responsibility for leading public worship within the Christian church.

Summary of Requirements

The Archbishops' Certificate in Public Worship (ACertPW) syllabus consists of the following:

  • Introductory 48-hour course (unless granted an exemption)
  • Part A: Portfolio/Project File
  • Part B: Practical examination
  • Part C: Viva Voce examination
  • Part D: Extended essays

Aims of the Programme

The award encourages candidates to improve their skills in planning and leading public worship within the Christian denomination to which they belong. The programme aims to develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of the form and structure of worship in the candidate’s church, and greater awareness of the role and effectiveness of the spoken word and of music in worship. The programme also aims to develop practical skills essential to the art of liturgical presidency, and to enable candidates to evaluate critically their role in leading worship, and to encourage self-development.

Learning Outcomes

Holders of the ACertPW award will have demonstrated

  • the ability to plan and lead public worship within their own denomination;
  • good skills in public speaking;
  • competence in leading the sung parts of the service;
  • an understanding of the role of music in worship;
  • an understanding of the Christian year, and an appreciation of ways in which the liturgical calendar might be reflected in the choice of spoken and written items;
  • an appreciation of the liturgical and worshipping customs of their particular denomination, and of the music and musical traditions which complement them;
  • the ability to develop a structured written argument, with an appropriate measure of critical judgment;
  • the ability to continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop liturgical presidency skills to a high level.

This award is at level 4 (comparable to the standard expected at the end of the first year of a
tertiary course of study) in the national framework of qualifications.

Credit Weightings

The credit weightings for each section of the examination are :

  • Part A Portfolio/Project File 30 credits
  • Part B Practical examination 30 credits
  • Part C Viva Voce examination 10 credits
  • Part D1 Extended essay (Christian worship) 25 credits
  • Part D2 Extended essay (Church music) 25 credits

These weightings reflect the proportionate amount of time which successful candidates might be expected to spend on each section of the award.

Conditions of Entry

All candidates for this award must be current members of The Guild of Church Musicians.

Application forms are available for download from the Guild’s website, and from the Examinations Secretary, and must be returned with the appropriate fee by 31st January prior to the examination.

Parts A, B, C, D1 and D2 are each marked out of 100. Candidates must achieve the pass mark (60%) in each of these sectors. Candidates who fail in one or more Parts are entitled to retake or re-submit those requirements and satisfy the examiners within four years of their first submission in that Part of the examination. Part B (the Practical examination), if failed, may not be re-taken within three months of the previous examination.

Candidates may opt to take the Parts over more than one year, but must apply or re-apply by 31st January in the year of taking any one or more Parts.

The Academic Board of The Guild of Church Musicians reserves the right to refuse or cancel the entry of any candidate for the Certificate without assigning a reason.
Candidates are strongly advised to consult the Guidelines which are published separately.