Lay Licensed Ministries
The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. Lay persons are commissioned for their ministry by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world. Lay ministry comes in many forms, but some ministries require a license from the ecclesiastical authority in the diocese.
Currently, in the Episcopal Church of Western Oregon, there are three lay licenses available:
LAY PREACHER is a layperson authorized to preach. Persons so authorized shall only preach in congregations under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith. (Canon III.4.5)
EUCHARISTIC MINISTER is a layperson authorized to administer the Consecrated Elements at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist. A Eucharistic Minister acts under the direction of a deacon, if any, or otherwise, the member of the clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith. (Canon III.4.6)
EUCHARISTIC VISITOR is a layperson authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. A Eucharistic Visitor should normally act under the direction of a deacon, if any, or otherwise, the member of the clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith. (Canon III.4.7)
Please contact Tamara Knowles at TKnowles@ecwo.org with any questions.
Apply for or renew a license:
Steps to apply for a new license:
- A priest in charge of a faith community identifies an individual (nominee) who they have discerned is called to a licensed lay ministry.
- The priest and the nominee complete the Application for Licensed Lay Ministry.
- A diocesan staff member confirms that the nominee is up to date with their Safe Church, Safe Communities requirements and has completed a background check.
- The Bishop, the Missioner for Lifelong Formation, and/or select members of the Commission on Ministry review the application and may interview the nominee.
- A course of action is determined:
- The nominee meets the competencies for a licensed lay ministry and is issued an initial license;
- The nominee must demonstrate remaining competencies for the licensed lay ministry through a course of formation, then may be issued an initial license; or
- The nominee is not prepared at this time to be licensed as a lay minister.
Steps to renew a license:
Requirements for all licenses:
- Be a baptized member of The Episcopal Church in good standing
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of Anglican theology, history, and practices through a Catechesis course, Education for Ministry, Fundamentals of Our Faith series at Bexley Seabury Seminary, or other academic or practical experience
- Provide a letter of recommendation from a priest and a letter of recommendation from a member of the nominee’s faith community
- Complete Safe Church, Safe Communities training
- Complete a background check
- Complete an antiracism training through an approved program (recommended but not required for Eucharistic ministers and Eucharistic visitors)
Requirements for Lay Preachers:
Nominees must demonstrate the following:
- Proficiency in Biblical studies, especially exegesis
- Proficiency in theology, especially Anglican theology and specifically theology of the Eucharist
- Knowledge and practical familiarity with Episcopal worship and the Book of Common Prayer
- Developed skills in preaching and be committed to continuing to improve one’s preaching
- Capacity to make the Bible relevant and meaningful to people’s lives and experience
- Commitment to ongoing formation as a lay leader
The above can be demonstrated through the following:
- Academic preparation
- Practical experience in ministry, including preaching
- Completions of relevant courses in Bexley Seabury Seminary’s Pathways for Baptismal Living program
- Participation in regular formational opportunities for lay preachers in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon
- Other relevant experience and training
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
Letters of recommendation from a priest and a member of the nominee’s faith community are required for all lay preaching nominees. These letters are required to complete the application process.
The letters should address the following:
- How well do they know the nominee, and in what contexts
- How long they’ve known the nominee
- The nominee’s preparation and readiness to preach in relation to the named competencies; specifically, the nominee’s strengths not only as a communicator but as an interpreter of the Bible to others
- The nominee’s capacity to be responsible to a process of licensing and ongoing formation as a minister of the gospel
- Other aspects of the nominee’s character that you think are relevant to their call to preaching
ESTABLISHED LAY PREACHERS
We recognize that there are lay preachers in some of our communities who have been preaching for many years and whose experience and practice are an important part of the life of those congregations. Clergy (or senior wardens) may recommend to the Bishop an experienced lay preacher for licensing by writing a letter describing the individual’s practice and experience in their congregation and requesting a license on that basis.
Competencies for Eucharistic Ministers & Eucharistic Visitors:
Nominees must demonstrate the following:
- Regular attendance at worship
- Willingness to serve the needs of the congregation
- Willingness to participate in training
- Lead an active life of prayer and commitment to the Baptismal Covenant
Eucharistic Visitors must also demonstrate the following:
- Pastoral skills, including being able to address issues related to the home-bound or nursing home residents, the terminally ill, death and dying
- Understanding aging and family dynamics
- Willingness to keep confidentiality
- Knowledge of when to notify clergy if changes have occurred in those visited
- Commitment to report regularly to the clergy about pastoral visits
- Commitment to visit regularly
- Understanding of the liturgical services used in ministering to the sick and shut-in, including services and prayers for healing and anointing, Holy Communion under Special Circumstances