How to be an Acolyte
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
9:00 am service
Thank you for serving as an acolyte! This is a very important ministry and we are grateful for your offering to lead the congregation in this way. You are a co-leader of the service and your cheerful, attentive, prayerful, smiling presence is so appreciated. This is to be clear about what is expected of you as an acolyte.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes before the service. Let the Verger know you’re the acolyte. Wear regular street clothes—no acolyte robe is needed. Wear the acolyte cross (located behind the Sacristy door).
- Light the candles (the candelabras, the ones on the altar and in front of the pulpit).
- Go to the back of the church to lead the procession. Pick up the 9:00 cross and stand in the aisle. When people start singing, walk all the way to the steps and pause for a second or two. Then move up the steps to the right. Put the cross in its holder between credence table (the table behind the altar) and rood screen.
- About processing and recessing: take your time! What feels like a good pace to the leader is often way too fast for the end of the line. Don’t leave your followers in the dust!
- Sit on one of the chairs at the front of the sanctuary near Rex and LeeAnne.
- You are one of the leaders of the service. Please stand when we stand, sing when we sing, speak when we speak, etc.
- The deacon (usually Rex) will let you know when to get the gospel book to carry in the Gospel procession. Follow the torch bearers. Stop, face the deacon and hold the Gospel book for the deacon to read from.
- When the gospel is finished, follow the torch bearers back up the aisle and return to your seat.
- After passing the Peace, move to the altar and be attentive to the deacon (or priest if no deacon is present). He or she will ask you to hand him the chalices (cups), the baskets or patens (plates) and the hand sanitizer.
- Get the big offering plate and stand in front of the altar facing the congregation. The ushers will put the offering plates in your big one. Hand them across the altar to the deacon. Then go to the side of the altar and the deacon will hand you the plates. Place them on the bottom shelf of the credence table.
- Get the pumper bottle off the credence table and give a squirt of hand sanitizer into the hands of clergy (most often LeeAnne & Rex) & chalice bearers.
- When Eucharist is done, again be attentive to the deacon. Your help is needed cleaning up the table.
- The deacon will let you know when to get the cross to lead the recessional. Stop near the first pew and wait there until deacon gives dismissal. Put the cross in its holder at the back of the church.
We are using a database called Ministry Pro Scheduler for our lay ministry scheduling. Anne Hanson coordinates this for us and you will see emails coming from her at firstname.lastname@example.org . When you sign up to be a lay minister, Anne will send you a login & password for the Pro Scheduler, along with some other basic info. There will be link to a short video about how to use the scheduler. It lets you do things like select the services you want to serve at & what lay ministry positions you’re interested in, put in blackout dates, delete a ministry you no longer want to serve on, etc. It’s flexible & user friendly!
Every month you’ll receive an email from the Pro scheduler (that looks like it comes from Anne). It tells you the next month’s schedule is ready. You can then login and go to MY SCHEDULE (to see what service(s) you’re assigned to) or FULL SCHEDULE (to see what the whole monthly schedule
If you’ve been assigned to a service and you can’t serve then, go to the MY SCHEDULE tab and click on REQUEST SUB button next to the date/time you can’t serve. The system will send an email to everyone who does the same ministry at the same time. (For example, if you’re a reader for the 10:30 service and click that you need a sub on a specific date, the Pro Scheduler will send an email to all other readers who can possibly read at that service on that date.) If one of those people can serve for you, they will click a link on the email that they receive and, voila, you’ll get an email back, the person subing for you will also get a confirming email and the schedule will automatically update so that the schedule everyone looks at will be the most recent one.
Sometimes there are some slots that didn’t fill in the schedule. If you’d like to fill any of them, please look at the FULL SCHEDULE tab & click on any of the VOLUNTEER NOW spots that you’d like to sign up for.
Anne Hanson will be happy to answer any questions, so please don’t hesitate to contact her at email@example.com. Rev 5/28/16