Guidelines and Requirements for Worship Leader (Canon 4.4) Nov 29, 2022

Guidelines and Requirements for Worship Leader (Canon 4.4)

A Worship Leader is a lay person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.


  • A personal sense of ministry. A person of prayer who seeks to develop their own spirituality.
  • One who can reverently lead the community in worship.
  • A strong, clear, and articulate voice.
  • The ability to share responsibility for worship with other ministers of the congregation.


  • The ability to plan and lead the following liturgies:
    • The Daily Offices
    • Ante-Communion
    • The Burial of the Dead
  • The ability to plan and assist at the following liturgies:
    • The Holy Eucharist
    • Holy Baptism
    • The Proper Liturgies for Special Days
    • The Pastoral Offices
  • A prayerful person who reads well and/or can pray spontaneously putting into words what is on the heart of those present.
  • The ability to provide pastoral support to families and congregations at time of need and/or crisis under the direction of clergy.
  • The ability to obtain an authorized sermon and to deliver it.

Background Knowledge

  • A basic understanding of Holy Scripture (Old and New Testaments), Church History, Ethics and Theology (at the level of catechism and creeds).
  • A detailed knowledge of the Book of Common Prayer, especially rubrics.
  • The Book of Occasional Services, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, A Great Cloud of Witnesses.
  • Pronunciation of names and other difficult words in Scripture.
  • The Calendar of the Church Year, and a basic understanding of the seasons.
  • The BCP Lectionaries and the Revised Common Lectionary.
  • Knowledge of the Hymnal 1982 and other music resources.
  • Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title II: Worship.

Education and Training Possibilities

  • Coursework at Bishop Kemper School of Ministry “Sacramental Theology”.       
  • Education for Ministry (EFM)
  • Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL) Liturgy and Worship Series,
  • Liturgics courses offered by Episcopal Seminaries.

To be licensed

  • For initial licensure, be able to demonstrate knowledge of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Ante-Communion, and Funerals to Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-charge and Vestry/Bishop’s Committee.
  • At the time of licensure, the lay licensing committee will work with the licensee to find a mentor that can provide them with support and guidance as they begin this ministry.
  • Completion of Anti-Racism and Diversity Training offered by Diocese.  Contact Shirley Bolden at for information.
  • Criminal background check.  Contact the Human Resource Administrator and Finance Assistant for information.
  • Recommendation of Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-charge and Vestry/Bishop’s Committee.
  • Safe Church, Safe Community training modules are required.  Contact the Human Resource Administrator and Finance Assistant for information.
  • For re-licensure,
    • Report number of times that individual has served as Worship Leader.
    • Recommend taking the course “Sacramental Theology” at BKSM.
    • Report from Priest-in-Charge and mentor.


  • The Book of Common Prayer. Church Hymnal Corporation, 1979.  
  • The Hymnal, 1982. Church Hymnal Corporation, 1985.
  • The Book of Occasional Services (most recent edition)
  • Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (most recent edition)
  • Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title II (Worship).
  • A Commentary on the American Prayer Book. Marion J. Hatchett, Seabury Press, 1981, 1995.  
  • A Guide to the Practice of Church Music. Marion J. Hatchett, New York: Church Publishing, 1989.
  • Opening the Prayer Book (The New Church’s Teaching Series, Volume 7). Jeffrey Lee. Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1999.
  • Praying Shapes Believing. Leonel L. Mitchell, Minneapolis:  Winston Press,1985.
  • Sermons That Work. Sermons for each Sunday prepared by the Episcopal   Church USA; available at:
  • Enriching Our Worship
  • Pastoral and Occasional Liturgy: A Ceremonial Guide. Leonel L. Mitchell. Boston: Cowley Publications, 1998 
  • The Book of Common Prayer, a Biography.  Alan Jacobs. Princeton University Press, Reprint Edition, 2019
  • The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer. Charles Hefling and Cynthia, Editors. Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Back Story Preaching: Integrating Life, Spirituality, and Craft. Lisa Cressman. Liturgical Press, 2018.
  • The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith. James White. Abingdon Press, 1999.
  •  Any Body There – Worship and Being Human in the Digital Age. Craig Mueller. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017.
  • The Diocese of West Missouri Mentoring Guidelines.


11-28-2022. Original version posted.

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