St Helens Church, High Street, Wheathampstead, St Albans, AL4 8AA. Worship Times: 10am every Sunday

Virtual Guide: The Lectern

July 2023: This page contains placeholder text for a proof of concept trial. We intend to refine this information at a later date.

The Lectern is the formal reading desk from which the Sacred Scriptures of the faith is read aloud. Sometimes, its ornate decoration witnesses to the authority of the words being read from the Bible. In a service the congregation may stand to hear the words of the Gospel and this may be preceded by a formal announcement in the liturgy, such as:

Reader: ’Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.’
Congregation: ‘Glory to you, O Lord.’

The reading may be followed by

Reader: ‘This is the Gospel of our Lord.’
Congregation: ‘Praise to you, O Christ.’

The Bible is actually a whole library of books and letters, brought together in the early days of Christianity to contain and explain the truths being proclaimed as the Gospel, the Good News, that was brought by Jesus as Christ, the Messiah.

The Old Testament and the Apocrypha of Jewish scriptures – containing the law books, the wisdom and poetic books and the books of the prophets – form the background or soil out of which Christianity grew. The New Testament contains significant events and teaching in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, a glimpse into the life of the early church, letters of explanation, encouragement and rebuke many of them by St. Paul, and ends with the great vision of the glory of God’s perfect dwelling place at last replacing the terrors and turbulence of this present age.

The Lectern frequently takes the form of an eagle, the bird which is said to be able to fly up and even look into the sun, bearing on its swift wings the message for all creation. The Eagle Lectern kept at the east end of the church is an example of this and is used on formal occasions, such as the carol service. 

Another, more simple lectern in the Nave is used for most of our services. It was donated in memory of David Warner, for many years head teacher at St Helen’s CofE Primary School in this village; note that this lectern is adjustable in height and encourages us to include younger members of the congregation in our services.

The Scriptures, written long ago, were all written for our instruction, in order that through the encouragement they give us, we may maintain our hope with perseverance. Romans 15.4–6