How to Be a Lay Leader
St Mary’s Episcopal Church—9 a.m. Service
- The Lay Leader is part of the team, along with the priest and deacon, that leads the 9 a.m. worship service. Three “orders” in the Episcopal Church—lay, deacon & priest—are represented. In addition to welcoming people, the Lay Leader will be the reader & chalice bearer, and may also be the acolyte and intercessor.
- Guidelines for all Sunday lay ministry responsibilities are located in a notebook in the podium cupboard in the narthex.
WEEK PRIOR TO THE SERVICE
- Prepare for 1st reading. (See “How to be a Reader” guidelines.) (Ideally, you will receive via e-mail the reading by 8 p.m. on Saturday so be sure to check your e-mail!!)
- Make a copy of the reading and bring it to church with you.
BEFORE THE SERVICE
- Please wear clothes appropriate to leading a worship service. Wear the Lay Leader cross—it will be around the processional cross or in the Sacristy. (NOTE: Can’t find Lay Leader cross at the moment.)
- Please arrive 20-30 minutes prior to service. Check in with the Verger.
- Check in with media/sound to get a microphone.
- If no acolyte, light candles about 7 minutes before service starts. (Candle lighters are behind the door to the Sacristy.)
- Get Lay Leaders Bulletin, song booklet and “Welcome Script”. (These are in the east Sacristy—to the right as you face the altar—standing up on the far left end of the counter.) Lay Leader responsibilities will be highlighted in this bulletin.
DURING THE SERVICE
- Give the “Welcome” from the front of the church (either in front of the altar or on the floor of the main aisle).
- After the “Welcome” invite people to “Please stand”. Say the “Opening Acclamation” as printed in the liturgy bulletin. Return to back of church to carry the cross and lead the procession (or, if there’s an acolyte, just join the procession behind the acolyte). If carrying the cross, put it in the stand near the rood screen. Take a seat by the priest & deacon. Stand by your chair during the collect.
- Read the 1st message from in front of the altar then take your seat. **Turn now and then as you speak to better include people sitting in the transepts.
- Carry one of the tall torch candles to lead the Deacon/Priest for Gospel. (Cross will not be carried.) Torch Bearers go first (side by side—Chalice Bearer is the other Torch Bearer). Stop at main aisle, on the floor just below the last step ; turn 90 degrees to face the other Torch Bearer, leaving room between you for Rex/Gospel book/acolyte. After Rex reads the Gospel, return in same order & put torch candle back in its’ stand.
- Lead the Statement of Belief & Baptismal Covenant (and read any Prayers of the People if your bulletin is highlighted) . Stand in main aisle just below the last step. (The music director will join you if there’s a musical response to Prayers of the People). **Turn now and then as you speak to better include people sitting in the transepts.
- Help move benches & chairs over by the piano when Deacon goes to prepare the table for communion.
- Stand near the altar with the clergy. At the appropriate times, begin to say the words we all say together during the Eucharist (in bold) so there’s no awkward silence.
- Serve as chalice bearer. Wipe both the inside & outside of the chalice after people drink and give it a quarter turn. Open the purificator (napkin thing) wide so that you can use a clean spot for each wipe. Some will take the chalice and drink on their own. Some will help guide the cup to their lips. Some won’t touch the chalice. Some will dip their bread in the cup, which is called ‘intinction’. For those who intinct, tip the chalice toward them to make it easier for them to see the wine & dip the bread.
- Lead the Post-Communion prayer.
- After Eucharist, announcements and the final blessing, (and if there is no acolyte), carry the cross to begin the recessional . The priest and deacon will recess with you. Go to the edge of the circle of people at the bottom of the steps. Stop there and wait while deacon/priest gives the dismissal. After the dismissal, continue the recessional down the aisle. Hang the Lay Leader’s cross over the cross and put the cross back in the stand. (If there is an acolyte, join the recessional, lining up right behind the acolyte.) (NOTE: Can’t find Lay Leader cross at the moment.)
- Return Lay Leader’s highlighted bulletin, song booklet and “Welcome Script” to its place in the Sacristy.
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 email@example.com . 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 a 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!
You’ll receive an email each month from the Pro scheduler (looks like it comes from Anne) if you’re scheduled to serve. 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 subbing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.