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As defined by CanonsThe preacher is authorized to preach at worship services including Eucharist, daily offices, weddings, and funerals. The ministry of the preacher focuses on the study and sharing of God’s word in scripture, tradition, and the social teachings of the church through the sermon. The licensed preacher is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing and functions under the direction of the member of the clergy exercising oversight of the congregation

  • Personal qualities or history of the Preacher

    Ability to work collaboratively with other members of the parish and diocese for the good of the community 

    While remaining sensitive to the diversity of attitudes, values, and condition found within a congregation, an understanding of the centrality of the critical interpretation of Scripture to the Episcopal tradition 

    Basic knowledge of Holy Scripture and the commitment to continued study 

    Demonstrated skill in public speaking and comfort with using those skills in a public setting 

    Knowledge of the liturgy and sacramental theology of the Episcopal Church 

    Participation in the liturgical and community life of the church 

  • Formation considerations prior to licensing

    Contents and background of Holy Scriptures (a knowledge of the general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha) 

    Ability to use methods of exegesis in sermon preparation 

    Demonstrated use of the voice in conveying the message of a sermon 

    Knowledge of liturgy 

  • Elements of training

    Preacher training includes required completion of the following individual tracks: 

    • Holy Scripture – general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha with emphasis on how the Bible is relevant to the church today. 
    • BCP, Lesser Feasts & Fasts, Book of Occasional Services – an examination of the liturgies and special services found in these books as well as how and when it is appropriate to use them. 
    • Hymnal – hymn texts are an accessible source of the theology and spirituality of the church. Preachers will learn how to use the authorized hymnals as part of their exegesis for preaching. Worship leaders will learn how to use the authorized hymnals as part of their services. 
    • Methods of Exegesis – techniques for preparing to write a sermon, finding appropriate resource materials, the art of crafting a sermon from exegesis to delivery, the use of “story,” and a practicum in a supervised group setting. 
    • Voice – the proper use of the voice is critical to preaching. This course will concentrate on general vocal production, the specific use of the voice as it pertains to preaching, and how to adapt preaching to size of congregations as well as various liturgical situations. 
    • Practicum for Preachers – as part of the curriculum, preachers will begin to develop their craft in small-supervised groups, which will give individuals a chance to preach as well as observe and discuss the sermons of others. Preachers will continue to develop their skill after licensing through mentor relationships and through continuing education workshops. 
    • Liturgy – gives preachers a basic understanding of their role within the liturgy.
  • Suggested resources for licensing and renewal


    • The New Interpreter’s Study Bible. Revised edition. Abingdon Press, 2003 
    • The Harper Collins Study Bible. Revised Updated edition. Harper One, 2006 
    • And God Spoke: The Authority of the Bible for the Church Today. Cowley Publications, 2002 
    • The Bible Makes Sense. Walter Brueggeman, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001 
    • Preaching the Lectionary. Reginald Fuller, The Liturgical Press, 1984 
    • Elements of Homiletic: A Method for Preparing to Preach. O.C. Edwards, Liturgical Press, 1982, 1990 
    • The Preaching Life. Barbara Brown Taylor, Cowley, 1993 
    • Preaching. Fred B. Craddock, Abingdon Press, 1985, 1990 
    • Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible. Thomas G. Long, Fortress Press, 1988 
    • Sermons That Work. Sermons for each Sunday prepared by The Episcopal Church 
    • The Bible in the Pulpit. Leander E. Keck, Abingdon Press, 1978 

    Web sites 



  • Renewal of license process

    A licensed lay Preacher will be licensed for up to 1 year at a time. Before or 1 year has passed, the licensed lay Preacher should have: had opportunities to practice their ministry; received review of manuscripts prior to preaching; continued to develop their skill and spirituality; and should receive an assessment of their good standing.  

    At this time, a member of the clergy with oversight and responsibility for this ministry can recommend that their license be renewed or that they pursue other ministries within the church and give room for others to practice this ministry. 

    Each year the diocese will request an updated roster of licensed Preachers for each parish and worshipping community.

  • Invite a Licensed Lay Preacher to preach at your church

    If you are a rector or priest-in-charge of a parish of worshipping community in The Diocese of East Tennessee and would like to invite a lay Preacher to preach on occasion, please contact the Canon for Mission and Lay Ministry, Beverly Hurley Hill at or (205) 213-6640. Licensed Lay Preachers were endorsed and licensed for their specific parish. The diocese wishes to provide shared lay ministry resources only where appropriate and invited. 

  • Community

    If you are a licensed lay Preacher or interested in following this group of lay ministers please join us on Facebook.