Certain roles in churches are filled by laypeople who have been licensed by the Bishop to function in these capacities. The ministries that need a license are specified by the canons (church laws) of the Episcopal Church. They are:
The Diocese of Hawai‘i has specified the training requirements for a number of these roles.
Definitions and Requirements
The Licensed Ministries in an Episcopal church are defined by the Canons of the Episcopal Church in Title III, Canon 4. They are defined below, in the order in which they appear in the Canons. Note that any of the licensed ministries, including that of Eucharistic Minister and Eucharistic Visitor, serve at the invitation and/or approval of the clergy in charge of the congregation. In the absence of a clergy in charge, the Senior Warden/Bishop's Warden endorses the applicants for licensed ministries.
Pastoral Leader - A Pastoral Leader is a lay person authorized to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances, as defined by the Bishop.
Worship Leader - 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.
Preacher - A Preacher is a lay person authorized to preach. Persons so authorized shall only preach in congregations under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.
Eucharistic Ministers - A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person authorized to administer the Consecrated Elements at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist. A Eucharistic Minister should normally act under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.
Eucharistic Visitors - A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. A Eucharistic Visitor should normally act under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.
Catechists - A Catechist is a lay person authorized to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows, and shall function under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.
Requirements for licensing are outlined by the Commission on Ministry and then forwarded to Bishop Fitzpatrick for approval. Currently, the ministries of Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Worship Leader, and Catechist are being licensed.
Licenses are issued by the Bishop. Licenses last for three years and are renewed on the First Sunday of Advent.
Currently, any Deacon or Priest in a congregation may train the Eucharistic Ministers in that congregation, using a diocesan curriculum that has been prepared for that purpose. Although the curriculum includes a portion for training Eucharistic Visitors, they must be trained in a diocesan-sponsored training.
Please note that the former licensed ministry of "Layreader" no longer exists. Anyone reading the lessons at a worship service in an Episcopal church should be trained by the Priest of that church (or by anyone to whom this responsibility has been delegated by the Priest), but the Lector (as such a person is called) does not need a license from the Bishop. However, if the person is also assisting by serving the chalice at Communion, then that person needs to be trained and licensed as a Eucharistic Minister.
The application form for a particular licensed ministry is linked on the left side of this page under the description of that ministry.
An application for licensing is not complete until the clergy in charge of the congregation, or the Senior/Bishop's Warden in absence of a clergy person, checks off and signs the back of the form, verifying that the layperson has completed the necessary discernment and training required for licensing.