Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors and Vergers
The Episcopal church offers several ways that older youth and adults can participate in church worship services. Anyone with a good speaking voice can read a lesson at one of the worship services. Confirmed members can work towards the steps to become a Eucharistic minister and chalice bearer. In the following sections are the requirements for becoming a lector, Eucharistic minister, Eucharistic visitor and verger.
Lectors are members of the congregation who participate in the reading of the lessons and leading the Prayers of the People at the Sunday morning services and at other special services. Lectors can be anyone who can read in a clear manner that can be understood by the congregation, has a desire to participate in this ministry and has the approval of the clergy. Lectors attend an initial training session and special sessions held once or twice a year. Being a lector is also the first step towards becoming a Eucharistic minister.
A Eucharistic Minister is a layperson authorized to administer the Consecrated Elements (the bread and the wine) at a Celebration of Holy Eucharistic. Confirmed communicants in good standing may be licensed by the diocese to serve as Eucharistic Ministers. At. Saint Paul’s, our Eucharistic Ministers participate in the reading of the lessons, the prayers of the people and in the serving of the chalice during the Eucharist. They serve at the Sunday morning services, the Celtic Service, and at other special services during the year.
Persons interested in being a Eucharistic Minister must first serve as a lector for a period of at least six months. Those then desiring to serve as a Eucharistic Minister must get permission from the Rector. The Eucharistic Ministers are required by the diocese to pass a written and oral exam administered by the Deacon and must attend a training course.
Being a Eucharistic Minister is a rewarding experience. The Eucharistic ministers work closely with the verger, acolytes and the clergy to assure that all parts of each service run smoothly and with dignity. Eucharistic Ministers may receive further training to become a licensed Eucharistic Visitor, someone licensed to take the Holy Eucharistic to persons unable to attend church.
A Eucharistic Visitor is a Eucharistic Minister who receives further training to visit persons at home or care facilities who are unable to attend church. These visits may or may not include taking communion to the person being visited. Saint Paul’s has many people who would like to receive an occasional visit from a church member; to have someone show them some attention, to learn about what is going on at the church, or perhaps just to share a prayer or some quiet time together. Eucharistic Visitors are also authorized to take communion from a Sunday service to members at their home. Those interested in becoming a Eucharistic Visitor should speak with the Recctor.
At Saint Paul’s, Vergers have both ceremonial and “behind the scenes’; functions. It is the duty of the verger to check all things related to a service to be sure that everything is in place, the right people are on duty, and that the service is ready to begin on time. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes, double-checking the work of others, and being able to fill in for others in a crisis allows the clergy to focus on the upcoming liturgy without having to worry whether the altar candles are lit. Once the verger makes sure that everything is ready for the service, the ceremonial duties begin. The verger leads all of the “moving parts’; of the service, assures that the acolytes and Eucharistic ministers fulfill their duties and is attentive to any special needs or circumstances. At Saint Paul’s, the vergers are the most experienced Eucharistic ministers who understand the duties of each acolyte and Eucharistic minister role, and who have the dedication and personal maturity to fulfill the needs of the position. Vergers serve with the consent and approval of the Rector.