Role of a Lay Reader
What is the Role of a Lay Reader?
Lay Readers have made a specific commitment to their Bishop, their Parish priest and Church wardens to use their skills and their developing gifts in ministry to the glory of God and for the benefit of the people within and beyond their own congregations. The service of Lay Readers is performed in the conduct of public worship, instruction in the Christian faith, the provision of pastoral care within their community and other duties as requested of them. Authority is given by the Bishop in the form of a license following a probationary period of training.
The duties of a Lay Reader will vary according to Parish needs. Each Lay Reader must give prayerful consideration to how best to reconcile the concept of their vocation with the whole-hearted cooperation and support of the Incumbent. Typically Lay Readers perform such functions as reading lessons, administering the chalice, leading the Prayers of the People, sharing leadership in and planning for public worship services, including giving a homily or sermon. When appropriately trained, Lay Readers may be called upon for more extensive ministry, preparing and conducting services of Morning and Evening Prayer in their own parish, or in another parish. They may take on leadership roles in parish events, committees, training sessions or taking Reserved Sacrament to the sick or shut-ins with a special Episcopal permission.
In order to begin a probationary period as a Lay Reader, one is either approached by their parish priest, or one may approach their priest who will seek approval of the Parish Council. A request is then forwarded to the Bishop who will contact the Pastor to Lay Readers to initiate a period of training.
The parochial ministry of a Lay Reader is supervised by the parish priest, with accountability to the Bishop and the Pastor to Lay Readers. Lay Readers are expected to follow a pattern of daily prayer and ongoing study, and to attend a number of retreats and conferences each year.
(adopted 13th of February, 2007, at a meeting of Diocesan Council)
Diocesan Council encourages parishes to contribute to the cost of the registration fees and travel costs of their Lay Readers participating in educational events approved by the Pastor to Lay Readers as part of the requirements for ongoing licensing. The Council also requested that the Pastor to Lay Readers publish the list of approved events to assist parishes and clergy in their support of Lay Readers.