Talk:Lay reader

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Title of Article[edit]

The Office of Reader is now correctly simply known as "Reader". The term "Lay Reader" is no longer in use. So, the title of this article should change to reflect this. However, the term "Reader" on its own is not suitable. I propose "Reader (Church of England)", as the office of Reader as referred to on this page is quite specific to the C of E. Other provinces of the Anglican Communion have similar offices, but their role and training varies widely.--APRCooper 15:13, 14 June 2007 (UTC) (A Reader!)

In fact, the article is not about Readers in the CofE, but in the Anglican Communion, whether they be known as Readers, Lay Readers, Licensed Lay Ministers, or what have you. If you feel that there is insufficient content on other Anglican Provinces, please feel free to add more. Certainly in my diocese in Canada, the canon on lay readers corresponds to what is found on this page, though few are licensed according to its provisions. Carolynparrishfan 17:59, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing that it is similar in Canada. However, I understand that the office is rare in ECUSA, and is much more limited than it is in the UK (I have worshipped with the ECUSA for substantial periods at different times, and my office was not recognised or understood). I also understand that in much of Africa it is pretty much unknown; deacons act as the equivalent in many ways (I may be wrong about this, though). As the office is defined by Canon law, which varies substantially from province to province, and not by the Book of Common Prayer and its successors, it might be better either to make the article more general or to make it clear to which provinces it is applicable. The name is still incorrect in the UK!

Reader and Diaconate[edit]

At a tangent, there are from time to time proposals in the CofE to institute a lay diaconate. This is usually countered with the argument that such an office would be indistinguishable from the Reader ministry. Is it a wider area of discuussion than the UK? --APRCooper 19:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

When you say "lay" diaconate, do you mean "permanent" diaconate? We have the latter in Canada, though it is in a bit of a state of disarray. Not sure how one could be a "lay" deacon, though. Carolynparrishfan 23:45, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

There is much discussion about whether Reader ministry is different from the diaconate. A Reader is a lay person, a Deacon is ordained. However, what they are permitted to do is very largely the same. As a result, there have been some suggestions that Readers might be reinvented as a permanent diaconate. Those opposed to it say that Reader and Deacon/Priest are different callings, and that many Readers do not see themselves as wannabe deacons or priests. Although there are historical precedents for a permanent diaconate, both in large numbers and in individuals who were never priested, there is currently no formal diaconate, at least not in the provinces where I have been licensed. I do not believe this is the place for a long and detailed discussion about the pros and cons of a permanent diaconate, though better to have it here than on the article's page! Ringbark 22:00, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

You have summed up the arguments very well. I did mean "Permanent", but there has been some confusion in the UK by the use of the term "Lay Diaconate", which I agree is probably a nonsense! I think the real problem is the customary use of the diaconate as a sort of probationary priest. And, like many Readers, I think part of the strength of the ministry is its lay nature and its rootedness in the parish; Readers have to have the support of their parish before they will be accepted for training (at least, to my knowledge this is true in the Diocese of Ely, and I think is generally true in the UK). However, I understand the role of deacons is much stronger in other Provinces of the Anglican communion. --APRCooper 23:11, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Recent move[edit]

CofE documentation certainly does capitalise Reader (see this [1] for example), presumably to distinguish the office of Reader from someone who could be called a reader simply as they have volunteered to read the lessons in a given service. Lay reader I'll grant is probably sufficiently distinguished in its own right not to require the qualification. David Underdown 15:11, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Why don't they just become ministers?[edit]

I don't get it. Why don't these people just become priests rather than being Lay Readers? Doesn't that show a certain lack of commitment? Should we really be immortalizing these people with a Wikipedia article? Aren't we just encouraging them to keep on with this flirtatious sort-of-priest-but-not-really thing? And why are they authorized to do it, and not everyone? Is it because they have particularly good reading voices, or look better in robes than other people? If we're going to do this article, I think we should address these issues as well, or perhaps an issue of some liturgical publication of some sort, preferably from the 12th century, back when no one knew about Cro-Magnons and such. Life was so much simpler back then. But I digress.

Joining the clergy gnerally implies making it a full-time job (though not always). It is seen as being an entirely separate type of minsitry to act as a Reader, rather than being ordained. David Underdown (talk) 17:32, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

It is perhaps a bit pointless to reply to a discussion that ended over three years ago, but the first post so annoyed me that I am still going to. As a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) I did not 'become a priest' because I did not believe I was called to the priesthood. Had I been so called, I might well have passed a selection conference. If I had, I could have done almost exactly the same three year part-time training and full-time formation that I did as a Reader, and been ordained as (effectively) a local priest to my home parish. To have done so when I didn't discern that was my calling would have been both selfish and sacrilegious. I'm licensed to preach because I have a calling to that ministry which the church has tested, and for which they have given me the necessary training, not because I have a 'particularly good reading voice' (which, as it happens, I do), nor because I 'look better in robes than other people' (which, as it happens, I don't). Matruman (talk) 15:58, 16 May 2012 (UTC)