St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

The People in Worship


Those who share in the ministry of the church. The ministers of the church are lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP, p. 855). Christian ministry is based in baptism, and the promises of the baptismal covenant (BCP, pp. 304-305). All Christian ministers are to represent Christ and his church. Each order of ministry has a distinctive role in the church's ministry. Each minister of the church is called to use his or her own distinctive gifts to share in the work of ministry. In the Prayer Book rubrics, the term indicates a person who leads liturgical prayer. A liturgical minister in the Episcopal Church may be a lay person or a member of the clergy. 



The bishop or priest who presides at the eucharist and at baptism, and at other sacramental and liturgical occasions such as the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, Ministration to the Sick, and Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. The celebrant leads the community's celebration of these liturgies and rites. 



The person who leads the Daily Office or another church service. The term may indicate a member of the clergy or a lay person. The BCP uses the term to identify the person who leads the Daily Offices of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Order of Worship for the Evening, Evening Prayer, and Compline; the Great Litany, including the supplication; and Ministration at the Time of Death, including the prayers for a vigil. 



A lay person who greets and assists people as they enter the church. Ushers may hand out service bulletins, answer questions of visitors and newcomers, count the number of people in the congregation, collect and present the offering at the offertory, assist parishioners during the administration of communion, and clean the pews and church building after the service. In some churches, ushers may bring the people's offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant at the presentation of the gifts. 



A lay minister who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshaling of processions.  The basic vestment of the verger is a black cassock. The ministry of vergers is supported and encouraged by the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church. 



A general term which covers not only servers, torchbearers, and lighters of candles but also crucifers, thurifers, and banner-bearers. They assist deacons or subdeacons at the preparation of the table. They carriy candles in processions.  



The acolyte who carries the cross in processions. The crucifer often assists in other ways, such as holding the altar book for the presider and serving at the altar.


Torch Bearer 

An acolyte or server who carries a torch in procession, including the gospel procession.  


Lay Reader 

A lay reader may lead the Daily Offices of the church. If needed, a lay reader may lead the liturgy for the Holy Eucharist through the prayers of the people, concluding with the Lord's Prayer and the grace, or with the exchange of the peace (BCP, p. 407



A lay person trained in reading scripture who is appointed by the clergy person in charge of the congregation to read lessons or lead the prayers of the people. There is no license required for this lay ministry. A lector may also be known as a reader.



The lector who reads the epistle in the liturgy of the word at the eucharist. The term "epistle" may be applied to any NT reading at the eucharist, including a selection from the epistles, Acts, or Revelation. The epistoler may be vested, depending on local custom. 



The person who preaches the homily or sermon. 


Lay Preacher 

A lay person licensed by the bishop to preach. This ministry is licensed under the provisions of the canon for licensed lay persons. The lay preacher must be a confirmed adult communicant in good standing, and recommended by the member of the clergy in charge of the congregation. Guidelines for training and selection of lay preachers are established by the bishop. A licensed lay preacher is to preach only upon the initiative and under the supervision of the member of the clergy in charge.


Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM) 

Lay person licensed by the bishop to administer the consecrated elements of the eucharist. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed to administer the consecrated bread and wine at any celebration of the eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of priests and deacons to assist the celebrant. They may also be licensed to go from a Sunday eucharist or other principal celebrations of the eucharist to share the sacrament with members of the congregation who were unable to be present at the celebration because of illness or infirmity. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed for either or both ministries. This ministry is understood to be an extraordinary ministry, and is not to take the place of the ministry of priests and deacons concerning the administration of the eucharist.



The server or acolyte who carries and swings the thurible in which incense is burned during the eucharist and other liturgies. The thurifer, the celebrant, the deacon, or other ministers may use the thurible in the ceremonial censing of people or objects such as the gospel book or altar. The thurifer may be assisted by another minister, a "boat person," who carries the incense boat or container which holds the incense that will be used during the service.