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
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?