Ministry Description – Parish Lay Reader

Amended by St. Stephen's Parish Council September 10, 2018

Qualification, Knowledge, Attitudes

The quality desired in a Parish Lay Reader is faith in Jesus Christ and some sensitivity to pastoral issues. He or she should be comfortable in talking about his or her faith and have a regular habit of prayer, and should be interested in helping people grow in their faith.

To be appointed as a Parish Lay Reader, he or she ought to have attended worship and parish activities regularly at St. Stephen’s for at least one year.


The Parish Lay Reader is appointed in accordance to Canon I-4. To be appointed as a Parish Lay Reader, the person must be confirmed and complete the course of study laid out by the Pastor. The Pastor and the Vestry appoint the Parish Lay Reader annually.

If the person has not been confirmed or completed the course of study, he or she may be appointed as a Lay Reader in Training.

The Parish Lay Reader is, by parish custom, a member of the Liturgy Committee.


The ministry of the Parish Lay Reader is to lead worship and preach. As a preacher, the ministries of teaching and leadership are part of the ministry of a Parish Lay Reader.

The Parish Lay Reader is expected to have a grasp of the spiritual issues in the parish and work towards affirming the strengths and strengthening where weak. To this end the Lay Reader needs to attend worship and parish activities on a regular basis, and develop friendships with parishioners.  He or she ought also to participate in parish studies.

The Parish Lay Reader is expected to develop his/her habits of prayer, Bible reading and study.

Specific Duties

The duties are:

a.    Preach and officiate as scheduled to a standard acceptable to the congregation and the Pastor;

b.    Function as an reader, prayers of the people, and Eucharistic Assistant as scheduled by the Reader Coordinator;

c.    Frequently attend the Liturgy Committee; and

d.    In negotiation with the Pastor, assist with Baptism, Confirmation Preparation, and small group studies.


The Parish Lay Reader is accountable to and supervised by the Pastor. Through the year meetings will be scheduled with the Pastor and possibly other Lay Readers for training, administration and supervision.

The Church Wardens, Liturgy Committee and Parish Council may also advise the Parish Lay Reader on the conduct of his/her ministry.

The Parish Lay Reader is subject to the General Synod Canon on Discipline.

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