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Licensed Lay Worship Leaders

Quick links to sections on this page
Resource Team  |  Policies  |  Preparation & Licensing  |  Support & Guidance  |  Staff Support

Thank you for your willingness to serve

Canadian Shield Regional Council is grateful to God for the willingness of lay people who come forward to offer their faith, insight and skill as worship leaders in congregations.  The following page outlines the standards of practice for Licensed Lay Worship Leaders who serve in Canadian Shield.  It is the hope of the region that these standards of practice will both encourage, honour and inform the members of the Laity as they share their gifts and express their faith while meeting the vital need of a congregation to gather for worship.

LLWL Resource and Support Team 

(This is an ad-hoc group from the Pastoral Relations Commission)

  • Joy Bott
  • Janice Frame
  • Jane Graham
  • Peter Haddow
  • Susan Peverley
  • Dawn Yorke

Staff Support – Rob Smith

Please see our Pulpit Supply page for a current list of LLWLs available for occasional Sunday pulpit supply.
As of January 1, 2024, there will be a $194.86 daily rate with $0.55/km for mileage as the minimum pulpit supply remuneration for LLWLs.


Licensed Lay Worship Leaders Governance and Policies


Preparation and Licensing

What is required to be a Licensed Lay Worship Leader (LLWL)?

The regional council may license a person as a licensed lay worship leader. (The Manual I 1.11.5)

The following requirements apply:

a) the person must be a member of a congregation in that regional council; and
b) the license must be for a specified term, which may be renewed.

A licensed lay worship leader serves under the direction of the Regional Council’s Pastoral Relations Commission.  If a licensed lay worship leader becomes a member of a community of faith in another regional council, that person must be recognized by that other regional council in order to continue serving as a licensed lay worship leader.

What are the educational requirements to be licensed?

The lay member completes a preparatory course that extends over at least two years and includes the study of theology, church history, Hebrew and Christian scriptures, preaching, worship, and pastoral skills.  The course of study must be approved by the LLWL Committee.

Other Training

If a layperson has received training outside any training course approved by the region, are they exempt from region approved training, and if so, what criteria covers a decision to be exempt?

An individual may be exempt from a preparatory course at the discretion of the Pastoral Relations Commission.  An individual’s education would be evaluated using the handbook, Licensed Lay Worship Leaders (October 2016) or future editions.

Safeguards and Mandatory Training

In addition to the educational requirements noted above, the lay member must also complete all mandatory workshops and police records checks, according to policy set by the United Church of Canada. United-in-Learning workshops on Personal and Professional Boundaries for Church Leaders and on Racial Justice are available online. Please see the United-in-Learning catalog on the online education site ChurchX.ca for available dates and times for required workshops.

Vulnerable Sector Police Records Check

As part of the licensing and re-licensing process, LLWLs must have a vulnerable sector police check on file as part of their mandatory safeguards. Please contact your local police department to see what they require from you to obtain a vulnerable sector check. Once you have received your police check, this information is kept on file with the regional office. Going forward we ask all  LLWLs to fill out an annual declaration, which can be found on our LLWL Re-licensing page. If you have any questions about this please contact Rob Smith at rsmith@united-church.ca

When seeking licensing, will there be an interview for Licensed Lay Worship Leaders?

Yes. The Pastoral Relations Commission, through the LLWL Resource and Support Team tests the lay member’s suitability and readiness for licensed lay worship leadership by examining their personal character, doctrinal beliefs, and educational competency. Based on the interview, the LLWL committee will make a recommendation to the Pastoral Relations Commission regarding issuing a license.


Support and Guidance

Will there be interviews for renewal of licenses?

Yes. The Pastoral Relations Commission issues a license to the lay member to function as a licensed lay worship leader within the jurisdiction of the region, under the direction of the region. The licence is normally valid for 3 years and may be renewed.


How many Sundays can a Licensed Lay worship Leader lead worship in one community of faith?

The licensed lay worship leader may cover two consecutive Sundays a month, to a maximum of 24 services per year, in one community of faith.  If asked to lead worship for more Sundays, the licensed lay worship leader is to seek the approval of a Pastoral Relations Minister before agreeing to do so. The Pastoral Relations Ministers will report these exceptions to the Pastoral Relations Commission.


Are Licensed Lay Worship Leaders to be remunerated? What is the remuneration when leading worship in a multi-point community of faith?

The community of faith is encouraged to remunerate licensed lay worship leaders in accordance with the Minimum Salaries & Reimbursements rate for Visiting Ministry Personnel, including travel, issued by General Council each year. It is to be noted that this rate is a minimum. When leading worship on a multi-point community of faith, it is intended that the licensed lay worship leader would receive above the minimum rate for one Sunday, but not necessarily the full rate for each worship service. As of January 1, 2024, the community of faith is encouraged to remunerate LLWLs with a $194.86 daily rate with $0.55/km for mileage as the minimum pulpit supply remuneration for LLWLs.


Are Licensed Lay Worship Leaders expected to provide pastoral care?

No.  A licensed lay worship leader may not provide pastoral care in a pastoral charge that is not their own. It is expected that the licensed lay worship leader will refer any requests or requirements for pastoral care (counseling, home visitation, hospital visitation) to the called or appointed ministry personnel, or the community of faith’s supervisor for follow-up.


May a Licensed Lay Worship Leader conduct a funeral?

Yes.  A licensed lay worship leader may conduct a funeral. However, the conduct of funerals within a community of faith (including a funeral home), is to be arranged in consultation with the called or appointed ministry personnel or the supervisor of the community of faith.  If the licensed lay worship leader conducts a funeral, they must ensure that the information is entered in the Burial Register of the community of faith.


May a Licensed Lay Worship Leader conduct a marriage and sacraments?

No. Licensing does not include permission to preside at the sacraments or provide a license to perform marriages.


May a LLWL wear a stole or clergy collar?

No.  A stole and a clergy collar are reserved for those who are ministry personnel, called or appointed to a community of faith.


Staff Support

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

Pastoral Relations Minister

Phone: 1-833-236-0281 Ext. 3
Email: rsmith@united-church.ca

Serves in: Canadian Shield Regional Council

Location: Teleworks and works in the Thunder Bay Office.

Role: Rob encourages and supports ministry personnel toward health, joy, and excellence in ministry practice.

Contact Rob about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Licensed Lay Worship Leaders; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options.

More about Rob...