LAY LICENSING

The health and vitality of our congregations is reflected in the robust and effective formation, empowerment, and honoring of people’s ministry and commitment to God and our common life. Parish life is a team sport; it takes many people using their particular gifts to make ministry possible.

Licenses are often perceived as an irrelevant administrative burden at best and means of gatekeeping at worst. We see them, however, as a wonderful and important opportunity. We demonstrate the importance of a ministry and the work people are doing by the time and resources we invest in ensuring that they are properly equipped and recognized for what they do. 

All licenses are up for renewal every five years. All diocesan licenses will be up for renewal I Advent 2026.

Please read below for descriptions of the various licenses, expectations for formation and other requirements, and to access the online Lay License Application Form.

LITURGICAL COMMISSIONING

To lift up these ministries that people are undertaking as licenses, Bishop Singh encourages congregations to celebrate and commission their leaders within the context of a liturgy, using the rite, “A Form of Commitment to Christian Service.” This can be found in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 420-421.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • November 5, 2022 from 10-2pm at St. John’s, Saginaw – Worship Leader I
  • January 28, 2023 from 10-2pm at St. John’s, Mount Pleasant – Worship Leader II
  • June 3, 2022 from 10-2pm via Zoom – Worship Leader I


$25/person. Click here to Register.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Tracie Little
Canon to the Ordinary
tlittle@eastmich.org

LAY LICENSES & REQUIREMENTS

The following tabs break down the various canonical licenses available in our diocese as well as the requirements around formation and renewal.

Click here to view the bishop’s letter, articulating changes instituted to the licensure process (September 2022).

Click here to view the breakdown of requirements as a table (PDF).

This ministry is for congregations without regular resident clergy who are looking to designate an individual “to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances, as defined by the Bishop.” (Title IV.4.3) This person fills operational and pastoral roles that are separate, but complementary, to the responsibilities fulfilled by the senior warden. The specific duties and responsibilities are articulated in a job description developed by the senior warden in consultation with the Canon Missioner/Canon to the Ordinary, and approved by the bishop. The Canon to the Ordinary/Canon Missioner will design a program of training and formation to fit the particular role and needs of the individual on a case-by-case basis.

Every two years, the Canon Missioner/Canon to the Ordinary will facilitate a Mutual Ministry Review with the Pastoral Leader, wardens, and vestry and in consultation with the bishop.

This ministry is for laity who regularly lead public worship, in the absence of an ordained clergyperson. Training for this license will take place at the diocesan level. 

Individuals seeking a renewal are expected to participate in continuing education. Opportunities for diocesan-offered sessions will be announced as they are available. Alternatively, those seeking renewal may take the Worship Leader Training full courses or consult with their Canon to the Ordinary/Canon Missioner about other options.

Parish clergy are empowered to ask anyone to preach for a single occasion. Lay members who are going to preach on a regular basis, whether there is a resident clergy or not, are expected to be appropriately equipped and commissioned by the bishop to preach in the diocese. 

Individuals for whom this is a new ministry are to complete the lay preaching curriculum through the Academy for Vocational Leadership, or a similar formation program approved by the bishop. The lay preaching class at the Academy involves a year of both biblical studies and homiletics, which can be taken either sequentially or simultaneously. Individuals who are renewing their license must submit documentation detailing their engagement of continuing education coursework, which include one day-long diocesan-sponsored workshop or some other engagement in homiletics or scripture as discussed with your Canon to the Ordinary/Canon Missioner.  

Learn more about the Academy and the preaching series on the Eastern Michigan website and on the Western Michigan website.

This person is authorized to, administer the Consecrated Elements [bread or wine] at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist.” (Title III.4.6). Training will be occasionally offered at the diocesan level, but it may take place within the parish under the leadership of local clergy. Learning topics should should include:

  1. Mechanics of distribution, including diocesan best practices around intinction and the common cup
  2. Basic introduction to Episcopal sacramental theology
  3. Liturgical presence

This ministry is for individuals who are, “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.” (Title III.4.7)

  1. Mechanics of distribution, including diocesan best practices around intinction and the common cup
  2. Basic introduction to Episcopal sacramental theology
  3. Review of the diocesan policy for Safe Church, Safe Communities regarding ministering to Vulnerable Adults
  4. Ministry of Presence (what it is and is not)

These ministries involve individuals who are commissioned to:

  1. Catechist – “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.” (Title III.4.8)
  2. Evangelist – “present the good news of Jesus Christ in such a way that people are led to receive Christ as Savior and follow Christ as Lord in the fellowship of the Church. An Evangelist assists with the community’s ministry of evangelism.” (Title III.4.9)

Those interested in being commissioned for one of these roles should enter discussion with their local clergy about the possibility and development of mutual expectations for formation. If the congregation does not have clergy, they should contact their Canon to the Ordinary/Canon Missioner. Once the agreed-upon training has been completed, the licensee may fill out the online license request form. 

Bishop Singh is open to other licenses not already included on this list. Please contact your Canon to the Ordinary or Canon Missioner to connect about whether there are other ministries that you feel ought to receive a similar commission.

“I take great joy in signing the license certificates, as they are a tangible expression of a ministry that someone is taking up to put their baptismal gifts and authority to the service of God and their congregation.”

COMING SOON: RESOURCE LIBRARY

As video trainings and other resources become available, we will be organizing a free, online library for local use.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Safe Church Training
All those exercising leadership in our diocese must have completed the appropriate Safe Church trainings, whether online or in-person within the last three years, including those seeking licensure. To learn more, visit the Safe Church, Safe Communities page of our website.

Dismantling Racism Training
All those exercising leadership in our diocese must have completed an anti-racism workshop within the previous three years. When applying for lay licensure, the applicant is required to have participated in anti-racism training within the previous year. To learn more, visit the Dismantling Racism resource page of our website.

COVID-19 Vaccination
For protection of those with whom we minister, those receiving a lay license are expected to be current in receiving the COVID vaccine. They are recommended to also be up to date on their boosters.