How to be a Bread Bearer
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church—9:00 & 10:30 services
Thank you for serving as a bread bearer! This is a very important ministry and we are grateful for your calm and gentle presence. These guidelines are just to be clear about how the role of bread bearer works and to offer some helpful hints.
BEFORE THE SERVICE
- Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to service. Pls wear your name tag. Check in with the Verger when you arrive.
DURING THE SERVICE
- During offertory (which is the time the plates are being passed and the table is being set) move to the back of the congregation so that you are ready to follow those bearing plates to the altar. Bring a bulletin with you.
- Follow the plates up the main aisle to the altar, and after the plates are handed over, line up in a semi-circle behind the altar with the other altar servers.
- Use the pumper bottle of hand cleaner to clean your hands. The bottle sits on the credence table behind the altar.
- 9:00 a.m. – All altar servers (you, chalice bearers, acolytes & clergy) receive communion last.
10:30a.m. –All the altar servers (you, chalice bearers, acolytes & clergy) receive communion first.
- As soon as you have a paten (plate) with bread, take whatever portion of the congregation you’ve been asked to serve and begin administering the bread.
9:00 a.m.-Most parishioners will receive communion in the circle in a standing position, although kneelers are available to those who prefer to kneel.
10:30 a.m.—Kneelers will be in place so parishioners may receive bread & wine from a kneeling or standing
position. Each bread moves from left to right, each doing half a side, just like the chalice bearer.
- When you serve the bread, say: “The Bread of Life” or “The Bread of Heaven” or “God loves you.” (9:00 a.m.)
“The body of Christ, the bread of heaven” (10:30 a.m.)
Give each person a bite-sized piece of bread.
- Most people will receive the bread in outstretched hands. Some will wait for you to put it on their tongue. (This doesn’t happen very often). With some smaller children you may need to kneel down to where they are.
- Some people will have their hands crossed over their chests, which is the signal that they would simply like a blessing from the clergy. Simply smile reassuringly and infer that someone will be by soon, then go and tell that someone.
- Acolytes will track you down to see if you need more bread or go to the credence table and get more bread yourself.
- You might be asked to take a chalice bearer with you to serve someone unable to make it up the aisle for communion. It is best to walk side by side with the chalice bearer if you can manage it.
- After serving everyone, set the paten on the credence table and make your way back to your seat.
- 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 email@example.com . 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 looks like.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.