Duties will vary according to parish needs and lay readers must give prayerful consideration on how best to reconcile the concept of their vocation and the whole-hearted cooperation with and support of the incumbent.

Typically, lay readers perform such functions as reading lessons, administering the chalice, leading the Prayers of the People, sharing leadership in and planning for public worship services, including giving the homily or sermon. When appropriately trained, lay readers may be called upon for more extensive ministry such as preparing and conducting services of Morning or Evening Prayer in their own or another parish, taking leadership roles in parish events, committees, training sessions and sacramental preparations or taking the Reserved Sacrament to the sick or shut-ins, with special Episcopal permission.