Worship nourishes and inspires us as followers of Christ, and is central to Episcopalian identity. The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York will train and license you to serve as a lay worship leader in for your congregation.

The Ministry

A worship leader is a layperson who regularly leads public worship under the direction of a clergyperson or other designated leader of a congregation.

Book of Common Prayer

Training and Licensing

Want to become a licensed worship leader? Thank you! Here’s how to proceed:

Step 1: Meet with your clergyperson

Meet with your clergyperson to discuss the ministry of a worship leader and your desire to serve in this ministry. A clergy recommendation (download the Worship Leader: Clergy Recommendation Form) is a prerequisite for the program. If you are in a parish without resident clergy, contact your district dean, who will also consult with the warden-in-charge for your parish and your parish’s regular supply priest (if applicable).

Step 2: Fulfill prerequisites

Be sure to fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • Your Safe Church certification is up-to-date (training completed within the last five years)
  • You have been confirmed or received in The Episcopal Church
  • You have received Holy Communion at least three times in the preceding year
  • You have been faithful in corporate worship and in working, praying, and giving for the Kingdom of God in the past year and are therefore considered a “confirmed communicant in good standing,” (Canon I.17.2,3)

Step 3: Complete appropriate training

  • For clergy-supported worship leader candidates, who serve in parishes with resident clergy, training may be overseen by parish clergy according to the Worship Leader: Curriculum for Clergy-Supported Worship Leader Training. Ideally, the worship leader candidate will also attend a diocesan worship leader training for fellowship with other candidates. Clergy-supported worship leaders will typically lead Morning Prayer or other services on an occasional basis, particularly when parish clergy are not present. They will generally use services prepared for them by their clergy or design services in close conversation with clergy.
  • For independent worship leader candidates, who serve in parishes without resident clergy, diocesan worship leader training is available. Independent worship leaders typically lead Morning Prayer and other services on a regular basis, and plan worship services by themselves.

Step 4: Apply for license

After above requirements are complete, you will be ready to apply to the bishop’s office for a license. Clergy-supported worship leaders should work with their parish clergy to submit the Worship Leader: License Request Form. Independent worship leaders can initiate the licensing process at a diocesan worship leader training.

All worship leaders should renew their license every five years, either by working with their parish clergy or by attending a diocesan worship leader training.

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