Trinity Episcopal Church, Milford, MA Sharing the Grace of God, the Light of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit,
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Lay Reader Notes

  • Arrive 30 minutes early, to give yourself time to be ready.
  • Check the book at the lectern. Father Mac always marks the readings, but sometimes things change. This is especially important for the 10:00 readers, because the 8:00 readers may have turned the pages.
  • The readings are marked with arrows in the book. There will almost always be two readings with the psalm between them.
  • The first reading is usually from the Old Testament; the second reading is always from the New Testament. Most of the time, they're together in the book, but sometimes they aren't. (If they aren't, there will be a ribbon to mark the second reading.) Make sure you know about any page turning you'll need to do.
  • Think about how you will handle the Psalm. There is an instruction and suggestion sheet for Psalm leaders here and also on the lectern.
    • At 8:00, you have a choice of reading the psalm in unison, or responsively by verse or half-verse.
    • At 10:00, the choir and congregation will sing the psalm antiphon. You will read the psalm while the organist plays quietly underneath your reading. Pause at each [ANT.] to allow for the singing of the antiphon. If it's not clear what to do, ask.
  • Lay Eucharistic Ministers: Look at the names in the Prayers of the People, especially for the names of those who have died. (We read first names only for the others.) You don't want to be surprised, either by the pronunciation or by the death of someone you know.

How to Read

  • Use the book. It's liturgically appropriate, and looks better. If you have a special need, like pre-marked pages or a larger font, put your pages on the book so it looks like you're using the book.
  • Practice the readings beforehand. The reminder is emailed to you early in the week, and the readings are available on the parish website.
    • Names. Make sure you know how to pronounce unfamiliar words or names in your readings. There is a pronunciation guide on the lectern and there are many on-line resources that provide pronunciation. One example can be found under the Bible Basics tab on netministries.org. It's best to look in the glossary in advance, though, or ask Father Mac. If you're caught off-guard, do your best to sound confident.
    • Long sentences. Saint Paul, especially, goes on and on — dependent clauses, prepositional phrases, parentheses, compound sentences, and so on. I've never quite stopped to diagram the sentence, but figuring out the subject and verb helps me. For example:

      For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations") -- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

      Romans 4:16-17 NRSV

  • Practice the readings out loud at home until you're comfortable.
  • You will screw up. Recently, Father Mac said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be condemned". If the mistake is something simple (changing a preposition or something) just keep going. If you have to, stop and back up.
  • Forget what you were told in first grade — it's a good idea to hold your place with your finger. I mark the beginning of the line; others follow each line. Find out what works best for you. You need to be able to find your place when you glance away.
  • When you're reading the Prayers of the People, don't say "The Prayers of the People", just start with the prayer.
  • Eye contact is nice, especially after you have some experience. I pick a couple of people to glance at.
  • Slow down. Nerves can make some people speed up. Even if that isn't the case, read more slowly than you usually speak. It helps understanding.
  • Speak up. Even with the microphone, it helps everybody hear.