In the Anglican Communion, a lay person licensed to conduct religious services. The office in its present form in the C of E dates from 1866. Readers are formally admitted to their office by a bishop, from whom they may receive a licence for a particular parish or for the diocese generally. The duties which may be assigned to them include the reading of Morning and Evening Prayer (except the Absolution), distributing the Bread and Wine at the Eucharist, officiating at the Burial of the Dead, and preaching. Since 1969 women have been eligible for the office.
In the Episcopal Church of Scotland the Canons of 1863 provided for lay readers and many provinces of the Anglican Communion have since established readers with duties similar to those exercised in the C of E. See also lectors.