Becoming a Lay Reader
A Lay Reader is...
A baptized and confirmed Anglican over the age of 18 who has been a communicant member of the parish for at least two years and believes that he or she has been called by God to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and whose gifts and calling are discussed by the Parish priest.
A person who, after training, is licensed by the Bishop to lead non-sacramental Services in Anglican churches in the Diocese.
A person who under the authority of their Parish Priest is involved in their own parish and is motivated to serve Christ in a wider capacity as a Lay Leader.
A person who by their actions and life style demonstrates their Christian Faith as set out in the Lay Readers' Mission Statement.
Obligations of a Lay Reader
All Lay Readers are obliged to:
Support their Parish Priest in the work of the Parish;
attend each year at least one of the events held by the Association;
follow the directions of the Bishop in all matters relating to preaching and teaching;
continue their Christian Education through reading, Bible Study and attending courses.
For the first year, during the Year-One program, Lay Readers are allowed to serve only in their Parish. Services within their own Parish (including various points of a multi-point parish) should be coordinated with the Parish priest.
Following their Year One program a Lay Reader is eligible to receive a 3 year licence. Once a Lay Reader has completed their first four years, (one year of initial training and their first 3 years of active service) they may conduct non-sacramental services in the Diocese upon request.
A record is kept of the territory in which each Lay Reader is willing or able to serve.
How to become a Lay Reader
You feel that you are called to become a Lay Reader? We encourage you to do the following:
Speak to the Priest of the Parish and make sure that he or she supports your application.
Contact the Warden of Lay Readers for an appointment and interview; you can download the application form here.
Fill out the form completely and hand it to the priest for the Corporation's approval and signatures.
Return the signed and completed application form to the Rev. Grace Pritchard Burson.
If everything is satisfactory you will be licensed the following November for one year.
Begin the First Year Course in January.
Training Program for New Lay Readers
The first year course consists of attendance at regular monthly events and workshops.
In addition, Lay Readers are encouraged to follow the Education for Ministry Program, E.F.M.
On completion of this course, the Warden, in conjunction with the Parish Priest and the Corporation, is free to recommend that a candidate receive a three year license from the Bishop. With the first three year license a candidate also receives a Blue Lay Readers' Scarf to wear with a Cassock and Surplice. The Scarf remains the property of the Diocese of Montreal and must be returned to the Bishop's Secretary when a person ceases to function as a Lay Reader in the Diocese.
Continuing Education Requirements for Active Lay Readers
All Lay Readers who receive a Three Year License from the Bishop must be involved in a continuing programme of education in the faith. Courses for this purpose are arranged by the Lay Readers' Association at their Annual Retreat some time in April or May and before the Service of Licensing in November and odd occasions when an interesting speaker may be available.
Participation in the Evening Courses sponsored by the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, courses at the Centre for Lay Education, Education for Ministry (EFM) and Lay Readers' Courses in other Dioceses are also acceptable.
In this matter, all Readers must relate to their Parish Priest and to the Warden of Lay Readers, who must recommend them to the Bishop for the renewal of their Three Year Licenses.
Lay Readers Emeritus
Older Lay Readers may become 'Lay Readers Emeritus'.
Lay Readers who no longer wish to continue in their parish ministry may choose to be listed as 'Lay Reader Emeritus'. They will be kept informed of all Lay Reader activities. Upon the return of the Lay Reader blue scarf (which remains the property of the diocese), they are licensed only once as Lay Reader Emeritus. This status remains in effect for the rest of their lives.