Licensed Lay Ministry

Call to Ministry

Christians are baptized into the life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and given gifts for ministry in service of His mission. All baptized people are called to minister in the world in Christ’s Name and to identify their gifts for His ministry with the help of the Church. Gifts developed and directed towards the spread of God’s kingdom serve Christ’s mission at all times and in all places. All baptized Christians are ministers every moment of their lives in all their endeavors.

Lay Ministries

While there is a range of ministries in which individuals may engage, there are some ministries within the church that require specific formational training. The Episcopal Church requires that the diocese license, at the discretion of the Bishop, those who engage in these specific ministries:

 · Worship Leader
 · Eucharistic Minister (EM) 
 · Eucharistic Visitor (EV) 
 · Preacher 
 · Catechist 
 · Evangelism Facilitator 
 · Healing Minister - in the Diocese of Northern California we also license these ministers

Although the training requirements differ for each license, the procedure to earn a license is the same for all. Please click on the license title for detailed information about each license.

Licensing Procedures and Training

The process of becoming licensed begins within a parish or mission. The person seeking a ministry license first meets with clergy to learn the requirements for the license. This is followed by an interview with and recommendation of the Regional Discernment Group (RDG). The clergy person then arranges for appropriate training.

The preparation for a first license may, at the clergy person’s discretion, include formal or informal instruction, reading, and attendance at appropriate workshops or training sessions. Each of the individual licensed ministry descriptions includes a list of resources that might be helpful, not only for initial instruction but also for continuing education. It is not necessary to purchase and read all the resources on these resource lists in order to become licensed. Start with the basics and use the resource list for your continuing education and skill building as you learn and grow into your ministry. We will update these resource lists regularly, so that they are current and reflect new materials that become available.

The clergy person and Vestry (Mission) Committee, if satisfied with the progress and competence of those seeking a lay license, must then certify to the Bishop that the nominee is ready for licensing. This is done by the following process:

1. A formal typed request for license(s), either new or renewed, should be sent on church letterhead from the clergy person to the Bishop. This letter should attest to the vestry and clergy person’s approval.
 2. This request should include the name(s) of nominee(s), lay license(s) that is/are being sought, and a statement that appropriate training has occurred.
 3. The Bishop, if satisfied, signs the formal license, which is then sent to the clergy person.
 4. The license extends for three years: Those issued in the first half of the year expire on June 30th of the third year after licensing. Those issued later in the year expire on December 31st.
 5. Please remember that all those seeking a license must be first Confirmed or Received into the Episcopal Church, and be deemed in good standing by clergy.

Renewal Procedure for Lay Licenses

Licenses may be renewed by the Bishop for an additional three-year period. The supervising clergy person must send a letter, on church letterhead, to the Office of the Bishop certifying that:

1. The licensee has faithfully practiced his/her licensed ministry
 2. The licensee has participated in appropriate continuing education. This may include:
 a. Informal classes with supervising clergy, approved workshops or seminars, or suggested reading.
 b. Formation and enrichment to strengthen ministers, such as retreats, quiet days, spiritual development activities, prayer workshops etc. at the discretion of supervising clergy.
 Clergy should contact the Administrative Assistant to the Bishop with any questions.

For further information and questions concerning these guidelines, you may contact Jacqi Seppi at


We would like to acknowledge and thank the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real for allowing us to use some of their materials for the licensed lay ministry descriptions, especially their Healing Minister description.

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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