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Licensed Lay Ministry

By virtue of our baptism, we are all Christian ministers. The Holy Spirit authorizes and empowers every baptized person to carry on various ministries for the good of and on behalf of the congregation. For some Christians, this means being called to ordained ministry. For most of us, this means we become actively involved in lay ministry or ministries.

The Episcopal Church (TEC), by way of its canons (governance documents, laws) indicates that each diocese shall make provision for the affirmation and development of the ministry of all baptized persons. Specifically, “a confirmed communicant in good standing … may be licensed by the Ecclesiastical Authority to serve as Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Evangelist, or Catechist. Requirements and guidelines for the selection, training, continuing education, and deployment of such persons, and the duration of licenses shall be established by the Bishop in consultation with the Commission on Ministry” (Title III, Canon 4, Sec. 1(a)). 

In response, The Diocese of East Tennessee provides opportunities for specific licensed ministries.

Parish Trained

The diocese encourages all parishes to establish a routine for identifying, discerning, training, continuing education, and supporting licensed lay ministry for their congregation. Annual revision of a roster of such licenses should be provided for diocesan records, and their license will be affirmed with a certificate signed by the Bishop. Regional training to supplement parish training will be offered by diocesan staff from time to time. Please note that there is no license or certificate for a Lay Reader or Lector.

Eucharistic Minister

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Eucharistic Visitor

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Worship Leader

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Diocesan Trained

The diocese will provide training for individuals identified by their parish, and endorsed by their Rector and Vestry, for licensed lay ministry for their congregation, and potential invitation by the diocese for sharing their ministry with other congregations.


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Pastoral Care Leader

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Evangelist Facilitator

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How to initiate the process of becoming a licensed lay minister

If you are discerning a call to ministry, you should contact your Rector or priest-in-charge. Rector or priest-in-charge as well as your Vestry hear your call to ministry, the Rector or priest-in-charge should then contact the diocesan Canon for Mission and Lay Ministry, Beverly Hurley Hill or (205) 213-6640.