205 No. Fourth Street | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801 | 225-387-5141 | church @ stjamesbr.org |                

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
-- Isaiah 40:8

Lector Teams

General Information for Lectors at 10:30 Sunday Service

by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Volunteer Leader & Scheduler


Thank you for your participation in this ministry! We read the first and second lesson as well as the intercessory prayers at the Sunday morning service at 10:30. Other services’ readers are separately scheduled.

This ministry is suited for those who enjoy speaking in public. We require three basic things from you:

  1. pay attention to when you are scheduled,
  2. prepare for your part, and
  3. show up (or get a sub in time).  

Please keep these instructions, either printed or electronically, where you can refer to them.

Each person must serve in three-person teams as both as a lector and an intercessor. For each Sunday service and certain holiday services, we have an assigned reader for the first (Old Testament) lesson, the second (New Testament) lesson, and the Intercessory Prayers of the People. These are called the first lector, second lector, and intercessor, respectively. The team collectively is responsible for all three readings and team members’ assignments will be rotated within the team; i.e., you take turns being first lector, second lector, and intercessor.

Scheduling -  The assignments are made by team; each team can expect to read about four times per year. I recruit readers for special seasonal readings via email. Watch out for my emails a few months before Christmas and Easter!

We must rely on you to show up as scheduled or notify your team members in advance if you are unable to serve.  That’s very important to the worship ministry at St. James. If you are expected but absent, it creates an awkward pause in the service while someone scrambles to cover your assignment. Thus, here is the procedure for substitutions:

  • Please be diligent about checking your email and opening the monthly lector assignment email from me.
  • Examine the schedule when it is emailed to you and put your team’s dates on your own calendar.  (You can also double check the assignments here.)
  • As soon as you become aware of any date you’re scheduled when you can’t read, contact your other two team members first, not someone outside your team or the entire lector list. You may want to exchange cell phone numbers within the team to facilitate this, especially for an emergency absence.
  • If you do have an emergency that prevents you from reading as scheduled, please call or text your team members so they will know to cover for you.
  • Decide among yourselves who will cover for the person who is missing. If two people are absent, the remaining person reads all three parts.
  • If no one from the team is available to read on the scheduled date, the team members must find at least one sub to handle the readings. If you reach this point, please feel free to contact the entire lector list to find one, two or three subs, as you choose. However, please do not contact other lectors before you have polled your own team first as this creates a lot of extra email.
  • Email Jo Craddock, Sylvia Rabalais, John Ozier, and me to inform us of the new reading arrangements so the bulletin will be printed correctly no later than Thursday morning preceding the service.
  • If a scheduled person on your team does not show up, one of the team members should cover the reading.

Preparation and Reading - Please follow the order of the service and be in place at the lectern when it is time to read. (That means you start toward the lectern just before the previous passage in the psalm or prayer is finished.) Please sit at the front of the church so your team members know you are there; if they don’t see you, they may assume you are absent and need to cover your part for you. 

First or Second Lector: There is no need to have readings mailed to you because they are available here. When you are assigned as first or second lector, preparation involves the following:

  • Check here for the passage assigned to you.
  • Read this passage and consider it prayerfully. 
  • Research the contextual meaning of the passage (the Internet is helpful).
  • Practice speaking it forcefully and slowly enough to be heard and understood, but not too loud or too slowly.  (You do not need to memorize the reading.)
  • Look up any words you are not completely sure how to pronounce.
  • Arrive early to ensure that the proper passage in the lectionary book on the lectern is bookmarked. If the marked page does not agree with the service bulletin, please read from the service bulletin (bring it with you to the lectern). This is especially important for the first lector because at some times in the year, there are alternate passages used that may or may not be easily located in the lectionary.

Intercessor: When you are assigned as intercessor, your reading requires no prior practice; however, it is important that you read from the correct source, which is the 10:30 version.

  • The 10:30 intercessory prayers should be on the lectern in church and will not be made available to you prior to the service. 
  • When you are the intercessor, it is especially important to arrive before the service to ensure that the sheet containing the intercessory prayers with names to be prayed for is in place on the lectern. That is what you will read from, verbatim. 
  • Use only the version marked 10:30 with a watermark (gray shadow). If it is not there, please look in the sacristy (the room behind the lectern) and if you still can’t find it, ask the ushers or one of the priests before the service to help you find the 10:30 service prayers. If they cannot be found, read the version of the prayers of the people referenced in the bulletin from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Take it and also your bulletin with you to the lectern for the names of those being prayed for.
  • If there is a baptism, the intercessor will read the baptismal service’s Prayers for the Candidates instead of one of the usual forms of Prayers of the People. The sheet containing these prayers should be on the lectern; if it is not, bring the BCP with you to the lectern when it is time to read. You read the “leader” part on page 305-6 in the BCP. The only tricky thing is the personal pronoun: them for multiple people, him or her as appropriate for a single child or adult. The pronoun is italicized in the BCP to draw your attention to it, not to urge you to pronounce it louder than normal. To recap, just remember this simple formula:  Intercessor + Baptism = page 305. 

Please contact Shirley with any questions, by email, here, or telephone here, or here.


  St. James Episcopal Church

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St. James Episcopal Church
Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA