Historically, a LECTOR is “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’. . . . 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.” In short, lay readers or lectors now have the holy privilege of reading scripture from the pulpit during worship services: they have the joy of sharing God’s Word with His People.
At most services, the assigned lector reads a passage from both the Old Testament and from the New Testament as well as leading the congregation in reciting selected verses from the Book of Psalms. For special services at Easter, Lessons and Carols, Christmas, etc., lectors join in reading additional scriptures that relive the birth, teachings, and passion of Christ.
Prior to the assigned service, conscientious lectors will have prayerfully studied the readings, meditated on their meaning, and practiced reading them aloud so that the delivery will be clear and effective. Reading sacred scripture before the congregation is an august and important ministry to be taken seriously and approached with reverence.