FRANCISCO-fact: What is a Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM), part deux?

Last week this question was brought forward in this FRANCISCO-fact series about the liturgical and non-liturgical lay ministries that we wish to reinforce at St. Francis. Last week’s part one answer was that LEMs were really two ministries rolled into one—Chalice Bearers, those truly administering the eucharist (see FRANSISCO-fact for 07-14-2022), and Readers/Lectors, those who proclaim the scriptural message.

LEMs are required to be licensed by the Bishop, as is stated in the Episcopal Church’s (TEC) canons, as administered by each diocese.

Readers, on the other hand, are not required to be licensed either by the TEC canons or by our diocesan rules. Readers, however, are a ministry that is locally selected and governed. Therefore, the Rector or Priest-in-charge of a local church can decide on this group by herself or himself. Additionally, this ministry is anticipated specifically by the Book of Common Prayer (BCP): “Lay persons appointed by the celebrant should normally be assigned the reading of the Lessons which precede the Gospel, and may lead the Prayers of the People, if there is no deacon to lead the prayers (BCP page 354).”

Prior to COVID, St. Francis would appoint two LEMs per week. Both would read a lesson and administer the chalice. Some members have said they would be excited to read, but do not want to administer the chalice, and some have said they are willing to administer the chalice but do not want to read.

The Rector would like to take this opportunity open-up both ministries to people who are willing to do one or both. How and if this gets organized is still up in the air because we have no idea how big this universe of church members is.

Therefore, folks who are interested in these ministries can contact the Rector at or the Parish Administrator at We plan to hold some training concerning the reading of the public reading of scripture in late August or early September. Once we have a pool of interested parties, we will coordinate with Pam Cooper to figure out if we should split the ministries, run them on a hybrid basis, or keep them combined.

To serve the congregation in the Eucharist is a gift to the congregation and an expression of the fullness of lay ministry in worship. It is the hope of the church that this invitation will spark a calling in the members of St. Francis as we exercise our gifts in public services.

Published by fr.david

Rector of St. Francis Church. Adopted son of the Old Dominion--Hampden-Sydney loving, Red Sox supporting, Burkean.

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