An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A lay person trained in reading scripture who is appointed by the clergy person in charge of the congregation to read lessons or lead the prayers of the people. The term is from the Latin, “to read.” There is no license required for this lay ministry. A lector may also be known as a reader. Lay persons served as readers in the early church. However, by the third century this ministry was performed by those ordained to the minor order of lector (reader). The minor orders became steps leading to ordination to the priesthood. The reading of the gospel at the eucharist was the responsibility of the deacon by the fourth century. The lector read from the ambo (lectern) in the basilicas of the fourth and fifth century. Minor orders were not continued in Anglicanism. See Lesson.

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.