The liturgical ministries provide the opportunity to directly participate in the worship service at St. John’s. Lay Readers proclaim God’s word to his people by reading the Lessons and Psalms to the congregation from the Lectern and leading the Prayers of the People. Lay Eucharistic Ministers administer the element of wine at any celebration of the Holy Eucharist assisting the Celebrant.
- The Episcopal Lectionary: Click here to enter the website of The Lectionary Page, maintained by Kelly W. Puckett. Here, you will find the liturgical calendar with links to the lessons from both the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and theRevised Common Lectionary (RCL). Check out the readings for next Sunday!
The Ministry of the Lector
A Lector is one who reads the scripture and prayers in Church. It is a great responsibility… it is your voice, but it is God’s word.
Not everyone who goes to church reads or studies the Bible, so what they hear read on Sunday may be the only Bible they know. That is why it’s important that they are able to hear what’s read.
Helping the congregation hear the Bible is the ministry of the Lector. This requires two things from the Lector.
1. Understanding what you read so it makes sense to you and the hearer.
2. Good projection and good diction.
Preparation Prior to Sunday Morning:
The Lector must study and practice before reading at the service. To be an effective Lector, it’s more important to be a good listener than a good reader. You must listen to and understand what the Bible is saying.
To help you understand the Bible, study your passage in a good New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Annotated Bible. Suggested are: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV), The Harper Collings Study Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV). Read the introduction to the book of your reading, the footnotes and the comments at the bottom of the page. To read well, you have to have a good understanding of what your passage means. When was it written, why, to whom, by whom? Who are the characters and where are the places? What kind of literature is it? (Poetry -Psalm23, Narrative-Genesis 1, Letter-Romans 1:7-12, Sayings-Proverbs 25:1) What happens before and after your passage?
You might also use a Bible Dictionary, a Bible Commentary, and/or a regular Dictionary to help you. There is a Bible name pronunciation guide in the Sacristy if you need it.
Remember, the way you listen and understand the words you are saying directly affects the way the person in the pew understands and makes sense of it.
At the Lectern:
Project your voice, articulate so people can physically hear you. No need to move the microphone, It has a wide range. Use the step if the lectern and microphone are too high for you. Keep your feet flat. Breathe deeply. Don’t rush through the reading, it’s important. Think of the person in the back pew who doesn’t hear well and deep the sound going back evenly to them. Practice in the church; bring someone with you to help and provide feedback.
Please do not announce the chapter and verse!
State simply and clearly:
A reading from the Book of Genesis
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Church at Corinth
After you finish the Scripture reading, stop and take a breath before reciting the ending:
“The word of the Lord.”
Prayers of the People:
Be familiar with the form you will be reading. Don’t read it ‘cold’.
If the names are not clear or pronunciation is uncertain, do your best. God knows who they are.
Take your time.
Do not be afraid of silence.
Wherever the prayers are marked ‘pause’, make sure you do just that.
Parishioners may need time to silently add their own petitions and praise.
For the shorter pauses, do what feels right, but at a minimum, take a deep breath before proceeding.