Dr. Shirley's Resource Pages

Canons relating to Lay Leaders


Lay Leaders minister under the provisions of Title III, canon 3 : Of Licensed Lay Persons

Sec. 1

(a) A confirmed communicant in good standing may serve as Lay Reader, Pastoral Leader, Lay Preacher, Lay Eucharistic Minister, or Catechist, if licensed by the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the person is a member. Guidelines for training and selection of such persons shall be established by the Bishop.

(b) The Presiding Bishop or the Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces may license a member of the Armed Forces to exercise one or more of these ministries in the Armed Forces in accordance with the provisions of this Canon.

(c) A Diocesan Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority may license duly certified Church Army Evangelists to exercise one or more of these ministries in accordance with the provisions of this Canon.

Sec. 2

(a) A license shall be given only at the request, and upon the recommendation, of the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation in which the person will be serving. The license shall be issued for a period of time not to exceed three years and shall be revocable by the Bishop, or upon the request of the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation.

(b) Renewal of the license shall be determined on the basis of the acceptable performance of the ministry by the licensee and upon the endorsement of the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation in which the person is serving.

(c) A person licensed in any Diocese under the provisions of this Canon may serve in another Congregation in the same or another Diocese at the invitation of the Member of the Clergy in charge, and with the consent of the Bishop in whose jurisdiction the service will occur.

(d) The person licensed shall conform to the directions of the Bishop and the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation in which the person is serving, in all matters relating to the conduct of services, the sermons to be read, and the dress to be worn. In every respect, the person licensed shall conform to the requirements and limitations set forth in the rubrics and other directions of the Book of Common Prayer.

Sec. 3

A Pastoral Leader is a Lay Person licensed to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a Congregation under special circumstances and may be licensed to lead regularly the Offices authorized by the Book of Common Prayer.
Prior to licensing, a Pastoral Leader shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects:

(a) The Holy Scriptures, contents and background;
(b) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(c) The conduct of public worship;
(d) Use of the voice;
(e) Church History;
(f) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(g) Parish Administration;
(h) Appropriate Canons;
(i) Pastoral Care.

A Pastoral Leader shall not be licensed if, in the judgment of the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority, the Congregation is able to and has had reasonable opportunity to secure a resident Member of the Clergy in charge.

Sec. 4

A Lay Preacher is a person licensed to preach. Prior to licensing, the Lay Preacher shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects:

(a) The Holy Scriptures, contents and background;
(b) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(c) The conduct of public worship;
(d) Use of the voice;
(e) Church History;
(f) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology;
(g) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(h) Appropriate Canons;
(i) Pastoral Care;
(j) Homiletics.

Persons so licensed shall only preach in congregations upon the initiative and under the supervision of the Member of the Clergy in charge.

Sec. 5

(a) A Lay Eucharistic Minister is a person licensed to this extraordinary ministry. The Lay Eucharistic Minister shall have one or both of the following functions, as specified in the license:

(1) Administering the elements at any Celebration of Holy Eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of Priests or Deacons assisting the celebrant;

(2) Directly following a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday or other regularly scheduled Celebrations, taking the Sacrament consecrated at the Celebration to members of the Congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. Persons so licensed may also be known as "Lay Eucharistic Visitors."

(b) Qualifications, requirements, and guidelines for the selection, training, and use of Lay Eucharistic Ministers shall be established by the Bishop.

(c) This ministry is not to take the place of the ministry of Priests and Deacons in the exercise of their office, including regular visitation of members unable to attend the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. A Lay Eucharistic Minister should normally be under the direction of a Deacon of the Congregation, if there be one.

Sec. 6

A Catechist is a person licensed to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. Prior to licensing, Catechists shall be trained, examined and found competent in the following subjects:

(a) The Holy Scriptures, contents and background;
(b) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(c) Church History;
(d) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(e) Methods of Catechesis.

Sec. 7

A Lay Reader is a person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of a Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation. Training and licensing shall be under the authority of the Bishop for those persons recommended by the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation, as provided by the Canons of the Diocese.

Sec. 8

A Lector is a person trained in reading of the Word and appointed without license by the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation to read lessons or lead the Prayers of the People.


Links to On-Line Resources

Go here for the Canons of the Episcopal Church
Go here for the Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

 


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Last Updated : November 27, 2006