An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Lay Reader

A lay reader may lead the Daily Offices of the church. If needed, a lay reader may lead the liturgy for the Holy Eucharist through the prayers of the people, concluding with the Lord's Prayer and the grace, or with the exchange of the peace (BCP, p. 407). A lay reader may also lead the Burial Office (BCP, p. 490), as well as the Ash Wednesday liturgy (BCP, p. 269), the Palm liturgy (BCP, p. 272), and the Good Friday liturgy (BCP, p. 282). However, certain modifications in these services are required when led by a lay reader. There is no blessing of the people by a lay reader. A lay reader who leads the confession of sin at Morning or Evening Prayer is to use a modified form for the absolution that asks for God to “have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins,” to “strengthen us in all goodness,” and to “keep us in eternal life” (BCP, p. 80, emphasis added). A similar modification in the absolution is made by a lay reader who leads the penitential order at the beginning of the eucharist (BCP, p. 353). A lay reader who leads the Ash Wednesday service is to remain kneeling after the Litany of Penitence and substitute the prayer for forgiveness appointed at Morning Prayer. The Good Friday service concludes with the Lord's Prayer and a final prayer when the service is led by a lay reader.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.