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Lay Ministry Licensing & Training

Guidelines, licensing, and training for lay ministers. 


The canons of the Episcopal Church (Title III, Canon 4) provide for the licensing of lay ministers by the bishop to perform specific functions within a congregation:

Worship Leader 

Eucharistic Minister 

Eucharistic Visitor


Pastoral Leader 




Lectors are trained in the reading of the Word and appointed by the clergy to read lessons or lead the Prayers of the People and do not need to be licensed by the bishop. 


Lay Ministry Licenses are issued for a period of three years unless otherwise specified or revoked by the bishop or the member of the clergy requesting the license. 


All persons applying for lay licensing as Eucharistic Visitor, Pastoral Leader, or Catechist will need a current certificate of completion of Specialized Safe Church Training. Please consult the Safe Church page of this website for information on this training.  

In the discharge of the duties of the office(s) in the Church, Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, Worship Leaders, and Clergy are required to observe the provisions of Title III, Canon 4 in the canons of the Episcopal Church, and the Diocesan Guidelines contained in the Clergy Manual.  

Pastoral Leaders, Preachers, Catechists, and Evangelists are also to be licensed. The criteria for these functions are spelled out in the canons of the Episcopal Church (Title III, Canon 4, Sec. 3, 5, 8, and 9). Clergy, or senior wardens of vacant parishes, should request licensing for these three functions with a letter to the bishop. The letter should clearly state that the canonical criteria have been met and the person is adequately trained. 

Lay Ministry Training

Lay ministers may be trained by their clergy, senior wardens of vacant parishes, or lay leaders appointed to do so. Several times each year diocesan staff lead a training day for lay leaders serving in the following areas: 

Eucharistic Minister 

Eucharistic Visitor  

Worship Leader 

Lay Reader/Lector

Some parishes have some unique customs, but there are consistent practices that apply across the church. This training focuses on those consistent standards. 

Attendance at one of the training days will meet the training requirement for licensing for Eucharistic Ministers and Worship Leaders. Eucharistic Visitors must also have a current certificate of completion of Specialized Safe Church Training prior to being licensed. The member of the clergy in charge, or senior warden of a vacant parish, will still need to send a completed Lay Ministry License Form to the Bishop’s Office for licensing. 

Upcoming Training Workshop

Space is limited so please register early. A light lunch will be provided.