Worship Leader - Canonical/Historical Background
The office of Worship Leader is the more recent designation for what had been known for decades as Lay Reader. As such, it is the original licensed lay ministry in the Episcopal Church. It evolved in response to the desire of rural congregations to worship on Sunday even when the services of a priest were not available. Lay Readers were commissioned to officiate at non-sacramental rites—i.e. Morning and/or Evening Prayer. As congregations began to celebrate the Eucharist more frequently in the wake of the Catholic revival of Anglicanism in the nineteenth century, Lay Readers began to administer the chalice at Holy Communion. Consequently, it is still usually assumed that Worship Leaders will function, when needed, as Eucharistic Ministers. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL PDF.
Eucharistic Visitor - Canonical Basis
Everything that has already been said about the extraordinary nature of licensed lay ministry with respect to Eucharistic Ministers applies with even greater acuity to Eucharistic Visitors. It is not lay ministry, per se, but is delegated clerical ministry. For this reason, both the spirit and the letter of the enabling canons set very strict rules. It is essential that these rules be strictly followed; to do otherwise creates a situation of abuse which can disrupt the good order of the church and confuse the faithful. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL PDF
Eucharistic Minister - Historical and Theological Background
Over the past three or four decades, a major shift has taken place in what is considered the normative Sunday morning experience for Episcopalians. Before that time, and extending back into the colonial era, the service of Morning Prayer—with sermon and hymns—constituted the core of Sunday worship. Since the Catholic Revival of Anglicanism beginning in the mid-1800s, most American congregations had begun to offer an early celebration of the Holy Communion, without music and often without a sermon, but at the main service, the sacrament was only offered once or twice a month, or even once a quarter. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL PDF