Roles in Public Worship
The leadership of Methodist worship has always involved men and women, lay and clergy, although there have been limitations placed upon certain categories of people at different times. Unordained preachers served Methodism from its beginnings, and laity has always had roles as class leaders, exhorters, stewards, stewardesses, and song leaders. Deaconesses assisted or led in worship to the extent that any layperson could. The principal liturgical ministers were the elders and, to a much more limited extent in terms of sacramental presidency, the deacons. The only distinct liturgical role of the general superintendent or bishop came at services of ordination.
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