Lectors and Intercessors

Almighty God, whose blessed Son read the Holy Scriptures in the synagogue: Look graciously upon the Lectors of your Church, and so enlighten them with wisdom and understanding, that they may read your holy Word to the glory of your name, and for the building up of your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God is made known to us in many ways in the context of liturgy, including in the sacred words of Scripture and through congregational prayer. Those who are called to the roles of lector and intercessor provide a visible and audible reminder of God’s presence among the people and by their faithful proclamation and thoughtful prayer they help us all experience God speaking to us anew each time we gather in worship. 

Lectors read the Old Testament Lesson, the Psalm (where it is not sung by the choir), and the Epistle. The intercessor leads the Prayers of the People. For some services, a single individual may fill this role, and for others a different person will be assigned to each reading or set of prayers. Unless otherwise specified, readings and prayers are given from the eagle lectern.

Given the importance of Holy Scripture and prayer, St. Peter’s expects that all volunteers:

  • Desire to animate the spirit and meaning of the lessons to the congregation; 

  • Possess a clear and pleasant speaking voice; 

  • Have the ability to read aloud slowly, with natural inflection; 

  • Commit to ascertaining the essential meaning of the lessons being read; 

  • Be willing to practice reading the assigned lessons aloud before the service; 

  • Be open to constructive feedback as needed.

Interacting with the Verger

A verger will generally be assigned for the 10 AM service and for special services and evensongs. One of the roles of the verger is to ensure that lectors/intercessors are present and to escort them to and from the lectern at the appropriate times in the services. The primary reason for this is to keep the service running smoothly. We’re confident that, unless you are new to St. Peter’s, you know your way to the lectern, but we beg your indulgence in this bit of wholly Anglican ceremony.

When the verger approaches you he/she will give a short bow. It is customary to return this bow. The verger will then lead you to the lectern and wait until you have finished reading. The verger will escort you to your seat, at which time another exchange of bows is customary.

Introducing Readings

The following form should be observed when introducing the Old Testament and Epistle readings:

“A reading from the [book/letter] of [book or letter name], chapter [chapter number], starting at the [verse number] verse.”

This introduction should also be included on the reading print-outs available on the lectern.

Some additional notes:

  • Old Testament books by major or minor prophets should be announced as “...the book of the prophet…”. For example, “...the book of the prophet Jeremiah…”. The major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

  • If included as a reading during Evensong, Gospel books should be announced as “...the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint [Matthew/Mark/Luke/John]...”.

  • Epistle readings should be introduced as “...the [first/second/third] letter of Blessed [Paul/Peter/John/James] the Apostle to [the Romans/ the Corinthians/ the Galatians/ the Ephesians/ the Colossians/ the Thessalonians/ the Hebrews/ Timothy/ Titus/ Philemon]”.

  • For Sunday services, each reading concludes with, “The Word of the Lord.” For Evensong, each reading concludes with “Here Endeth the Lesson.” 

Microphone

The lectern microphone is directional, meaning that it will only pick of sound when positioned directly in front of the speaker. When approaching the lectern, adjust the microphone so that it is pointed comfortably at your mouth. If well positioned, there is no need to lean into the microphone.

Scheduling

All scheduling for lectors and intercessors is handled through Ministry Scheduler Pro. It is the responsibility of each volunteer to keep the system up to date with your service preferences and availability. Should you be unable to keep a scheduled service, please request a substitute through the system as early as possible to allow for rescheduling. Note that the system will not allow substitutes to be requested within 48 hours of a scheduled service. Ministry Scheduler Pro can be accessed at https://secure.rotundasoftware.com/p/web-terminal/login/stpetersmorristown.

Prior to the Service

Receiving the Readings

Readings will be sent to lectors 1 - 2 days prior to their scheduled service. Readings also may be found online at www.lectionarypage.net. St. Peter’s requests that all lectors review and practice the readings in advance of the service. Assistance is available upon request for difficult-to-pronounce names.

Arrival

Lectors and intercessors should arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the service. Upon arrival, each volunteer should check the lectern to ensure that their reading or prayers are present. They should also make themselves known to the verger if one is assigned to the service.

Note: In the event that there is any confusion or discrepancy with the readings or prayers, please check in with the Minister of Ceremonies or a member of the clergy for guidance.

Attire

At St. Peter’s, lectors and intercessors do not vest unless they are also performing some other liturgical function at the service. We request that lectors/intercessors should use their best judgment on appropriate attire.

The Service

The Old Testament Reading

The Old Testament Reading follows the Collect of the Day. The verger, if present, will escort the lector to the lectern toward the end of the Gloria so that the reading may begin once the Collect has concluded. See guidance above on introducing the reading.

The Psalm

When the Psalm is not sung by the choir, it will be assigned to a lector. The Psalm is to be read in unison, with the lector leading the congregation. The Psalm should be introduced as follows:

“Please join me in reading aloud [that portion of] Psalm [number] found in your service leaflet.”

Epistle Reading

The Epistle reading follows the Psalm. The verger, if present, will escort the lector to the lectern toward the end of the Psalm (if it is sung). See guidance above on introducing the Epistle.

Prayers of the People

The Prayers of the People follow the Nicene Creed. The verger, if present, will escort the intercessor to the lectern after the Creed has concluded. The intercessor leads the form appointed for the day, announcing as follows:

“The Prayers of the People, Form [number], is found on page [number] of the Book of Common Prayer.”

The intercessor should pause briefly to allow the congregation to locate the correct page in their prayer book.

The celebrant will add a concluding collect, during which the intercessor will be seated.