HOW MANY HATS DO YOU WEAR?
Just like Bishops, Priests, Deacons a Lay person (that’s anyone who isn’t ordained) can have many job titles depending on what they are doing during the worship service or during the week for the upkeep and the administration of the church. In a smaller church like ours many people wear a lot of hats. In a larger church these are sometimes paid positions or a committee might handle the responsibility. Let’s start with Licensed Lay Ministries.
In the Episcopal Church there are seven forms of licensed lay ministries described by the canons. They are Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Catechist, and Evangelist. In most parishes you will find Eucharistic Ministers and Eucharistic Visitors are very common but the others are authorized only if the need arises.
A Pastoral Leader is a lay person authorized to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances, as defined by the Bishop. In other words this person would be acting as the rector of the parish. A Pastoral Leader must receive training and be examined and found competent by the Bishop in the following subjects: Holy Scriptures, The Book of Common Prayer, The Hymnal, the conduct of public worship, church history, and doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and the Outline of Faith; parish administration including business practices; appropriate canons, and pastoral care. A Pastoral Leader may be licensed only if, in the judgment of the Bishop, the congregation is unable to secure a resident member of the clergy in charge.
A Worship Leader is a lay person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of a member of the clergy. The chief function of the Worship Leader is to lead regularly scheduled public worship like Morning or Evening Prayer. This is common in some larger churches where they may hold Morning and Evening Prayer daily. Training for this ministry should include Holy Scripture, the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal, the conduct of public worship.
A Preacher is a lay person authorized to preach. They must do so under the direction of the clergy person in charge of the congregation. A lay preacher must receive training and be found competent , by the Bishop in the following subjects: Holy Scriptures, The book of Common Prayer and Hymnal, the conduct of public worship , use of the voice, church history, Christian ethics and moral theology, the church’s doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and the Outline of Faith.
A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person authorized to administer the Consecrated Elements at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist. This is the most common of the licensed ministries. Training usually includes the history and theology of the Eucharist and in the practical aspects of their ministry.
A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. People licensed as Eucharistic Visitors should be able to adapt to new or unusual situations , feel comfortable in a hospital or health care facility and be a good listener.
A Catechist is a lay person authorized to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. In a smaller parish this is usually done by the Clergy but in larger churches where larger groups are being confirmed or received this is a huge help to the Clergy. The training needed is about the same a Worship Leader but would also include methods of instruction and catechesis.
An Evangelist is a lay person who presents the good new of Jesus Christ in such a way that people are led to receive Christ as Savior and follow Christ as Lord in the fellowship of the Church. An Evangelist may work with a large outreach program or a group of community Christian leaders for the betterment of the community.
Next week we continue with lay person titles like wardens, sextons, acolyte, sacritan, verger and more.