Lay Eucharistic Minister (L.E.M.)

Lay person authorized by the bishop and or priest to administer the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. Lay Eucharistic ministers may be authorized 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 approved 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 permitted 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. Prior to the current lay ministry canons, specially appointed lay readers administered the chalice at the Eucharist and were known as “chalice bearers.”


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. The term is from the Latin, “to read.” There is no special training required for this lay ministry. A lector may also be known as a reader. Lay persons served as readers in the early church. However, by the third century this ministry was performed by those ordained to the minor order of lector (reader). The minor orders became steps leading to ordination to the priesthood. The reading of the gospel at the Eucharist was the responsibility of the deacon by the fourth century. The lector read from the ambo (lectern) in the basilicas of the fourth and fifth century. Minor orders were not continued in Anglicanism.

Both Lay Eucharistic Minister(s) and Lectors are used at Grace Episcopal Church in most all services.  Training is available from our Dioceses or otherwise arranged by our priest.  For those who might be interested in either ministry, we ask that you contact Reverend Susan Scranton or the Ministry Head, Janet Kawamoto.