Lay Readers

Meet Our Lay Readers

Who are Lay Readers?

Lay Readers are a dedicated group of Christian volunteer men and women licensed by their Bishop to assist in Worship services. They are present in most branches of the Anglican Church, though their mandates may differ in each National Church and Diocese.

Usually, they serve not only in their parish, but also in other parts of their Diocese. The actual ministry done by each Reader depends very much on one’s own calling, one’s own gift and one’s own parish or diocese requirements and needs. Lay Readers are doing one or more of these functions:

  • reading the lessons at church services;
  • leading non-sacramental church services such as Morning or Evening Prayer, Burial of the Dead;
  • assisting ordained clergy during the Eucharist and other sacramental services;
  • preaching at services;
  • offering ministry to the sick, including visitation, prayers and sometimes even liturgy;
  • taking care of children education (i.e. Church School) and adult education ( Bible studies, etc.), or even organizing those programs;
  • organizing and maintaining Prayer groups;
  • providing ministry not only in their parish, but throughout their Diocese according to the needs.

As you see from the list above, Lay Readers are much more than just readers. In the modern Anglican Church, they truly are Lay Leaders.

A Lay Reader at the St.Stephen’s Cathedral is:

  • A baptized and confirmed Anglican over the age of 18 who has been a communicant member of the parish for at least two years and believes that he or she has been called by God to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
  • A person who after training is licensed by the Bishop of the Nairobi Diocese to lead non-sacramental Services in Anglican churches in the Diocese.
  • A person who under the authority of the Cathedral’s Provost is involved and is motivated to serve Christ in a wider capacity as a Lay Leader.
  • A person who by their actions and life style demonstrates their Christian Faith as set out in the Lay Readers’ Mission Statement.
“We the Lay Readers, licensed by the Bishop of Nairobi Diocese, believe that we are called by God to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ in teaching, preaching and leading Worship services. We exercise this ministry in our parishes and throughout the Diocese. We use our diverse gifts, traditions, cultures and languages to be Lay Leaders within the body of Christ and in our daily lives.”

Obligations of a Lay Reader at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral:

All Lay Readers are obliged to:

  1. Support the Provost and other Cathedral Priest in the work of the Cathedral;
  2. Attend each year at least one of the events held by the Cathedral Lay Readers Association;
  3. Follow the directions of the Bishop of Nairobi in all matters relating to preaching and teaching;
  4. Continue their Christian Education through reading, Bible Study and attending courses.

How to become a Lay Reader

You feel that you are called to become a Lay Reader? We encourage you to speak to the Provost of the Cathedral and make sure that he supports your application.

What is the Role of a Lay Reader?

Lay Readers have made a specific commitment to the Bishop and the Provost to use their skills and their developing gifts in ministry to the glory of God and for the benefit of the people within and beyond their own congregations. The service of Lay Readers is performed in the conduct of public worship, instruction in the Christian faith, the provision of pastoral care within the St. Stephen’s Cathedral community and other duties as requested of them. Authority is given by the Bishop of Nairobi in the form of a license following a period of training.

The duties of a Lay Reader will vary according to the Cathedral needs. Each Lay Reader must give prayerful consideration to how best to reconcile the concept of their vocation with the whole-hearted cooperation and support of the Incumbent. Typically Lay Readers perform such functions as reading lessons, administering the Holy Communion, leading the Prayers of the People, sharing leadership in and planning for public worship services, including giving a homily or sermon. When appropriately trained, Lay Readers may be called upon for more extensive ministry, preparing and conducting services of Morning and Evening Prayer in the Cathedral, or in another parish. They may take on leadership roles in Cathedral events, committees, training sessions or taking Reserved Sacrament to the sick.

The Cathedral ministry of a Lay Reader is supervised by the Provost, with accountability to the Bishop. Lay Readers are expected to be prayerful and committed to study the word of God.

The Lay Readers’ Fellowship

The St. Stephen’s Cathedral Lay Readers enjoy opportunities to meet, to share meals, and to worship together several times a year.

 Lay Readers’ Personal Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for the honor and joy of being called to your service as a Lay Reader in your church. Renew me with your Spirit, that in worship and in service I may be faithful to your call.

Give me enthusiasm to share the task with those you have called to serve in other ways, that together we may proclaim your great salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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