Information for Lectors

Reading the Lessons

  • If you are scheduled to read a lesson, you'll be mailed a copy of the service sheet containing the lessons a few days in advance.

  • Prepare by reading the lesson several times, preferably aloud. If the lesson contains any "difficult" words, such as Hebrew or Greek names, look up the correct pronunciation--or ask for help.

  • The lessons are read from the lectern. You may either read from the bound lectionary volume, which normally is open to the appropriate readings for the day, or directly from the service sheet--just bring it with you to the lectern.

  • Introduce the lesson with the name of the Biblical book from which the text is drawn. Chapter and verse are not necessary. Examples: "A reading from the book of Genesis." "A reading from the prophet Isaiah." "A reading from the Acts of the Apostles." "A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians."

  • Read slowly, clearly, and loud. Project your voice to the back rows if you can.

  • Try to read with clarity and feeling. Stress key words for emphasis, and use pauses and variations in tone to express the relationships among ideas in the passage.

  • Don't read monotonously, but don't over-dramatize, either. Bring human feeling and emotion to the passage without drawing undue attention to yourself. The meaning of the passage should always be the central focus.

  • Conclude the lesson with, "The word of the Lord." (If you write these words down, you won't forget them!) Say this sentence slowly and loud, too. The congregation will respond, "Thanks be to God."

 

The Prayers of the People

  • Say the prayers from your seat among the congregation. Speak loudly and clearly so that all may hear and participate.

  • During some seasons, St. Mary's uses a worship booklet that contains a preselected form of the prayers of the people. If this is the case on the Sunday when you are serving, simply use the form appearing in the booklet.

  • If a service directly from the Book of Common Prayer is being used rather than a printed worship booklet, decide in advance which form of the prayers you will use (it's your choice). The six forms appear on pages 383-393 of the Book of Common Prayer.

  • Integrate into the prayers the special intercessions we generally include at St. Mary's: the names of our bishops and clergy; the (Christian) names of people for whom our prayers have been requested; and the name of the local parish for which our prayers are requested this week as part of the Inter-Parish Council cycle of prayer. You'll find these items on a typed sheet in the closet in the sacristy; look for it a few minutes before the service begins.

  • When integrating special intercessions into the prayer form, be sure to conclude the sentence with the language prescribed in the prayer book. For example, Form I includes the following sentence and response: For our Bishop, and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy. You'd insert the names of our bishops and clergy this way: For [-------] our Bishop, [for ------, ------, ------, and ----- our Bishops, for ------ our rector] and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord. Notice that by ending the sentence with the prayer book language, you make it easy for the congregation to know exactly when to respond with Lord, have mercy.

  • When the prayer book calls for a pause, don't rush! Leave a long enough silence for the thoughts and prayers of the congregation to become properly focused.

  • Feel free to add your own prayers, intercessions, or thanksgivings as appropriate. If the people of St. Mary's or the larger community are troubled, grieving, or rejoicing over some shared experience, you may wish to voice the common emotion. Don't worry about being eloquent; just speak simply and from the heart.