Diocesan Guidelines for Licensed Worship Leaders
According to Title III, Canon 4 of The Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 2018 Of Licensed Ministries:
A confirmed communicant in good standing or, in extraordinary circumstances, subject to guidelines established by the Bishop, a communicant in good standing, may be licensed by the Ecclesiastical Authority to serve as Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Evangelist, or Catechist.
The Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith may request the Ecclesiastical Authority with jurisdiction to license persons within that congregation or other community of faith to exercise such ministries. The license shall be issued for a period of time to be determined under Canon III.4.1(a) and may be renewed.
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 faith community.
A licensed Worship Leader in the Diocese of Rhode Island must complete Basic Safe Church Training with Praesidium Academy and undergo a background check with Active Faith Screening.
Licensed Worship Leaders are not paid, and the Bishop prefers that they serve as Worship Leaders only in their own congregation.
A video of the Bishop leading training for Worship Leaders to officiate for Morning Prayer is available for those nominated by their priest to train for licensure. The priest may obtain the link for the video by contacting the Bishop’s Executive Assistant, who oversees the licensing process. Nominees may watch the video; review with their priest how the general guidance would apply specifically to the context of the congregation in which they would be serving; and then be eligible to be licensed as a Worship Leader to lead Morning Prayer.
A licensed Worship Leader may read a sermon from Sermons that Work, the approved resource for The Episcopal Church, https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sermons-that-work/, a sermon from a resource that has been approved by their priest, or occasionally offer a personal reflection approved by their priest. Only a licensed Preacher may compose their own sermon and preach regularly in public worship, and the process to prepare for that ministry may be found here https://www.episcopalri.org/licensed-lay-leaders/
Once the required training is completed and an Application – Licensed Lay Ministries is submitted, the priest in charge contacts the Bishop Office by email to attest to the completion of the training and request that a license be issued.