*** DEBUG END ***

Out of the Question

02 January 2015


What should be done if unforeseen circumstances mean that no priest arrives for a Sunday eucharist?

A suitable person, e.g. a deacon, Reader, churchwarden, or server, should make an appropriate announcement and start to say or sing the eucharistic Liturgy of the Word, following the local tradition, but using the "us" rather than the "you" form of absolution. A deacon or Reader may give an address.

The creed and intercessions and Peace are then said. After the offertory hymn, the service continues with the Lord's Prayer, plus the lay form of blessing, the dismissal, and the final hymn.

Should the priest arrive, the priest takes over, and the service becomes a celebration of the eucharist.

When I was a layman and server, I often used to start the eucharist, because the priest had to come from another church. I once observed a lady lay minister in an alb doing this in a French Roman Catholic church.

(The Revd) Geoffrey Squire
Goodleigh, Barnstaple, Devon


Every congregation needs to be prepared, with a well-rehearsed plan for these occasions. When collaborative ministry has been developed, there is no problem. This principle is explained in Common Worship: Services and Prayers: "The ministry of the members of the congregation is expressed through their active participation together in the words and actions of the service, but also by some of them reading the Scripture passages, leading the prayers of intercession, and, if authorised, assisting with the distribution of holy communion."

In the absence, therefore, of a licensed lay minister (LLM), other lay persons, having been trained to conduct public worship with confidence, are able to introduce the prayers at the Gathering and lead the Liturgy of the Word.

The service might suitably conclude with a silence during which the congregation are invited to make an act of spiritual communion, before a final hymn and dismissal.

(Canon) Terry Palmer
Magor, Monmouthshire


Your questions

When did the Peace become a chaotic, free-for-all intermission, and what can be done to apply some sanity to this part of the service of worship?

J. C.


Fri 01 Jul @ 22:54
Court approves exhumation and return of remains for reinterment in US https://t.co/tJL0VvYBwO

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.