How to be a Reader
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church—10:30 am service
Thank you for serving as a reader! This is a very important ministry and we are grateful for your offering to proclaim what the Spirit is saying to God’s people. This letter is just to be clear about what is expected of you as a reader.
WEEK PRIOR TO SERVICE
- Practice, practice, practice!!! You are the vessel through which the congregation receives the Good News. Please be prepared to read with enthusiasm & emphasize the spirituality of the readings.
BEFORE THE SERVICE
- Please arrive 10 minutes prior service. Please wear your name tag. Check in with Verger when you arrive.
DURING THE SERVICE
- Please be at the pulpit ready for your reading at the appropriate time.
- Some people choose to put a little context around their reading. This is optional, but if you decide to do it, please keep it short…three sentences would be fine. Some potential resources: a bible dictionary (Harpers has a good one); a bible commentary (again, Harpers has a good one); online websites (Be careful with online research as you will mostly find very conserva- tive or evangelical or bible literalist sites.). Here are 2 you might check:
http://eastonsbibledictionary.com/ —type in a keyword like “Isaiah” and it will give you a
nice background. Or in the upper left corner you can locate your passage and it will locate it
in its many translations and you can link to commentaries.
www.processandfaith.org —This is a good commentary site.
- The microphone is always on. There is nothing you have to do to it. It’s safer if you don’t even touch it!! Usually there is someone in the back at the sound board, so they will adjust according to your volume. If you feel like you’re too short for the microphone, there is a stool to stand on.
- At the beginning of the reading, say: “A Reading from ____________”. It’s not necessary to give chapter and verse. Take a breath before beginning the reading.
- When you read, your primary task is to do all you can so the congregation hears the message of the text. The Bible contains a mixture of works—some can be funny, dramatic, sarcastic, challenging or convoluted. In terms of how it translates into English, it’s an understatement to say that editors would have been helpful. How your listeners hear the message depends on your presentation. Please pay attention to the pauses, the key words and the shifts from text to dialogue. As you practice your reading, ask yourself some of these questions: Who is speaking? Why? What was said before? What happened next? What does it mean to you? If you have come to terms with some of these questions for yourself, then your listeners will have a much better chance of understanding for themselves what the Spirit is saying through the text.
- Your energy and enthusiasm can make a big difference in the readings. Your sense of the scripture solicits a similar response from your listeners. Truly, this is fun stuff!! Good News!
- At the end of the reading, take another breath and then say: “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church”.
We are using a database called Ministry Pro Scheduler for our lay ministry scheduling. Anne Hanson coordinates this for us and you will see emails coming from her at firstname.lastname@example.org . When you sign up to be a lay minister, Anne will send you a login & password for the Pro Scheduler, along with some other basic info. There will be link to a short video about how to use the scheduler. It lets you do things like select the services you want to serve at & what lay ministry positions you’re interested in, put in blackout dates, delete a ministry you no longer want to serve on, etc. It’s flexible & user friendly!
Every month you’ll receive an email from the Pro scheduler (that looks like it comes from Anne). It tells you the next month’s schedule is ready. You can then login and go to MY SCHEDULE (to see what service(s) you’re assigned to) or FULL SCHEDULE (to see what the whole monthly schedule looks like.
If you’ve been assigned to a service and you can’t serve then, go to the MY SCHEDULE tab and click on REQUEST SUB button next to the date/time you can’t serve. The system will send an email to everyone who does the same ministry at the same time. (For example, if you’re a reader for the 10:30 service and click that you need a sub on a specific date, the Pro Scheduler will send an email to all other readers who can possibly read at that service on that date.) If one of those people can serve for you, they will click a link on the email that they receive and, voila, you’ll get an email back, the person subing for you will also get a confirming email and the schedule will automatically update so that the schedule everyone looks at will be the most recent one.
Sometimes there are some slots that didn’t fill in the schedule. If you’d like to fill any of them, please look at the FULL SCHEDULE tab & click on any of the VOLUNTEER NOW spots that you’d like to sign up for.
Anne Hanson will be happy to answer any questions, so please don’t hesitate to contact her at email@example.com.