In the Episcopal Church, it is important that everyone have the opportunity to participate in worship, by praying and singing aloud with the entire congregation if nothing else. However, it takes more people than just the priest and the musicians for us to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" every Sunday.
Acolytes lead the choir and altar party in procession, bear the Gospel book from which the priest reads, and help the priest set up the altar for the celebration of Holy Eucharist. Traditionally teenagers and older children serve as acolytes, as the role not only helps them experience and understand how we worship but reminds everyone that young people are the present of the Church, not just the future.
The Altar Guild is responsible for set-up before and clean-up after our worship services: setting out and washing the dishes, changing the linens, updating the hymn boards, and other such duties as assigned. At Christ Church, the Altar Guild also doubles as the Flower Guild, arranging flowers for the altar and narthex and distributing them to donors and/or parishioners who would appreciate them after the service. The Guild is divided into several teams so as not to overburden anyone, and older children through seniors are invited to serve, regardless of their gender.
Chalice bearers are trained ministers who, as the name implies, assist the priest by bearing the chalice during the administration of holy communion.
Lay readers serve by reading lessons from the Bible and leading prayers of the people during Sunday worship. Any who are willing and able to read clearly in public (with the help of a microphone) are invited to participate this way.
Ushers are the outward facing Sunday ministers, greeting worshipers as they arrive, handing out bulletins, and generally serving as the welcoming committee. They further collect the offertory and direct traffic during communion. Anyone, regardless of gender, who enjoys chatting with folks is encouraged to join the ushers.
10:30 AM: Holy Eucharist, Rite II
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