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Lay Reader

A nonordained Anglican licensed to read the lessons, conduct Morning and Evening Prayer (except the Absolution), preach at non-Eucharistic services, and, with special episcopal permission, read the Epistle and administer the chalice at Holy Communion. The office is a modern attempt to revive the ancient office of reader, which dates from 1866 and received its earliest wide development in the USA-where the number of clergy was inadequate to the needs of expansion, and where the services of the Episcopal Church were conducted in many areas and for long periods solely by lay readers. In England, Convocation issued regulations on a lay reader's work in 1905, and these regulations have been revised subsequently on a number of occasions. A bishop admits a reader to his office, granting him either a parochial or a diocesan license. Each diocese has a readers' board, which stipulates a minimum training, and coordinates their work.