ACOLYTES (3RD GRADE AND UP)
Acolytes were first mentioned in a letter from the pope written to the Bishop of Antioch dated in the year 251 A.D. (CE). At that time, acolytes were members of the clergy-ordained Church leaders-serving alongside bishops, priests, deacons and others.
EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS & VISITORS
A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person authorized to administer the consecrated elements at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist. To serve the sacrament of Christ’s precious Body and Blood to our brothers and sisters is a profound spiritual privilege beyond measure.
Today, acolytes are lay members of the Church. At St. James Episcopal Cathedral the Acolyte Ministry is open to all congregants ages 8 and up (including adults). Acolytes fully participate in the liturgy (worship) of the Church. From the beginning to the end of the service, acolytes serve as representatives of the congregation at God's altar and assist the clergy with leading the worship service.
Acolytes function in two ways: First, there are practical jobs that we "do" as part of our service: carrying a torch, cross, Gospel Book, sometimes a banner/flag; giving out and receiving the alms basins, and helping the clergy ready the table for celebration of Eucharist, among other things. Secondly, acolytes are living symbols of faith--they represent something much larger than ourselves. Serving and leading our congregation in worship is an important ministry and should be undertaken reverently, faithfully, and joyously.
Acolytes serve approximately every 3-4 weeks, pending on the number of participants in the ministry.
A very important part of our worship experience is hearing the stories of our faith and the wisdom of Holy Scripture. Lectors have an opportunity to assist with the liturgy by reading the scripture lessons from the Old and New Testament and leading the congregation in the Psalm.
The Lector ministry is ideal for anyone who enjoys both public speaking and the opportunity to share the Word of God. Lectors serve at all of the Sunday services, weekday services, and special services like Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter. Readings are available in advance—giving plenty of time to practice!
Lectors are typically scheduled to read every 4-6 weeks. Please arrive about 10 minutes before the scheduled service to check the lectern for the reading(s).
We are entrusted to carry the Gifts of God to the People of God with the Love of God. Eucharistic Ministers are required to participate in a training session every three years and are then licensed by the Bishop for service at the altar. Eucharistic Minister can serve at Sunday services, weekday services, and special services like Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter.
A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. The Eucharistic Visitor (EV) extends the altar, and thus the life and fullness of the Church community, to those who cannot be present at worship by taking the Sacrament to them following any public celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Eucharist Ministers typically serve about once per month. Eucharist Visitors serve as needed.
GREETERS AND USHERS
Ushers at St. James provide a ministry of hospitality and assistance to all worshippers, giving extra attention and help to visitors or those with special needs. Hospitality is paramount in our Christian faith, where to welcome strangers and regulars alike is akin to welcoming Jesus himself into our midst.
Duties include setting out name tags, welcoming people, distributing worship bulletins to those entering the Cathedral, counting the congregation, collecting the offering, and guiding worshippers to communion. However, there is also a profound spiritual role ushers/greeters play at services. For many visiting St. James, an usher/greeter is the first person they meet. Ushers/Greeters set a tone; and hopefully, the message they share with others says that St. James is a welcoming, thoughtful, and intentional community of faith.
Ushers/Greeters typically serve about once per month.