Liturgical Customary

For Readers/Lectors

Before the Service

  • Look over the readings before Sunday: identify any difficult phrases or hard to pronounce words in advance, and practice the readings a few times.
  • Please arrive at least 20 minutes before the service you will be reading at in order to check in with the verger and participate in the prayers before worship.
  • When you arrive, check in with the verger to confirm that you have the correct lessons, receive any additional special instructions about the service, and find out where your position will be in the procession. If you have any questions about the reading, ask the verger.
  • Please be in the Memorial Room 5 minutes before the service begins in order to pray with the other worship leaders. Following the prayers, line up with the procession in the upper hallway.
  • As you process in, bow to the altar once you reach the head of the procession and then take your seat behind the choir near the lectern.

At the Time of the Readings

The First Lesson

  • When you approach the lectern, turn on the light and adjust the microphone.
  • Introduce the first reading with the words, “A reading from (name of the book).” Please do not cite the chapter and verse numbers or include any additional introduction.
  • Read the lesson clearly to the last row of the pews and the balcony.
  • Breathe during the reading.
  • Be aware of your inflection and pacing (no one complains about slow readings, but it is possible to read too quickly).
  • When you reach the end of the lesson, pause briefly, and then conclude with the words, “The Word of the Lord.” The congregation will respond, “Thanks be to God.”

The Psalm

  • Introduce the psalm with the words, “The Psalm is Psalm # (or ‘that portion of Psalm #’) found on your bulletin insert.”
  • The Psalm is read responsively by half verse, breaking at the asterisk. You will read up to the asterisk of each verse, and the congregation will respond with the other half of the verse. This form of reading the Psalm is the only one that we will be using.
  • Since we have been using this responsive form for some time, there is no need to announce how the Psalm is to be read — simply begin with the first verse after introducing the Psalm.

The Second Lesson

  • After the congregation concludes the final half-verse of the Psalm, allow a brief pause before introducing the second reading.
  • Introduce the second reading with the words, “A reading from (name of the book).” Please do not cite the chapter and verse numbers or include any additional introduction.
  • Read the lesson clearly to the last row of the pews and the balcony.
  • Breathe during the reading.
  • Be aware of your inflection and pacing (no one complains about slow readings, but it is possible to read too quickly).
  • When you reach the end of the lesson, pause briefly, and then conclude with the words, “The Word of the Lord.” The congregation will respond, “Thanks be to God.”
  • Before leaving the lectern, turn off the light.
  • Leave the lectern right after the congregation’s response. You do not need to wait for the Gradual hymn to begin.
  • Before going down the steps to the pews, turn and bow to the altar.
  • Take your seat in the pews.

Additional Notes for Readers

  • Occasionally, there will be more than one reader for a service. If this is the case, only one reader should be standing at the lectern at any given time. Other readers should remain seated near the lectern until it is time for them to read their designated lesson. When there are multiple readers, the first reader should turn on the light, which then remains on until the final reading is concluded.
  • If for any reason you are unable to participate in the procession, please take your seat behind the choir before the service begins. If necessary, return to that seat following the readings rather than taking a seat in the floor pews.
  • If you are unable to serve on a Sunday that you have been scheduled, you are responsible for arranging a substitute.

For Intercessors

Before the Service

  • If you are not also the lector, please arrive at least 15 minutes before the service you will be reading at in order to check in with the verger.
  • When you arrive, check in with the verger to confirm which prayers you will be reading, receive any additional special instructions about the service, and find out if there are additional names or prayers to be added. The verger should provide you with the full text of the prayers for that day. If you have any questions about the prayers, ask the verger.
  • If you would like to participate in the prayers before worship, please be in the Memorial Room 5 minutes before the service begins. Following the prayers, take your seat in the congregation.
  • Please sit no further than halfway back in the Church.

At the Time of the Prayers:

  • The Prayers of the People normally take place immediately following the Nicene Creed.
  • At the conclusion of the Nicene Creed, or whenever the prayers are scheduled to take place, come forward to the lectern.
  • When you approach the lectern, turn on the light and adjust the microphone.
  • Introduce the prayers as directed on your prayer sheet. Your introduction will usually include instructions to the congregation about how they will respond to the petitions, for example: “With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the Lord, saying ‘Lord, have mercy.’” You will not need to announce a Prayer Form, as the people’s responses will also be printed in the bulletin.
  • Read each petition slowly, clearly, and at an even pace.
  • Breathe during your reading.
  • Allow for time between the people’s response and the following petition. If the prayers call for a “silence” between the petition and the bidding of the people’s response, allow ample time for others to add their own prayers, blessings, thanksgivings, names, etc.
  • When reading lists of names, be especially careful to keep an even pace — there is a natural tendency to speed up during lists.
  • After reading the final petition, turn off the lectern light.
  • Ordinarily, the celebrant will conclude the prayers with a collect.

Additional Notes for Intercessors

  • If you are also the lector, please follow all of the notes pertaining to the time before the service that apply to readers. You will be in the procession, and then lead the prayers from your seat in the floor pews.
  • If you are unable to serve on a Sunday that you have been scheduled, you are responsible for arranging a substitute.