Ways to Get Involved
Liturgy is defined as “work of the people.” Everything we do in our Sunday worship is not merely the work of the clergy or staff, but the work of all the people who worship with us. Below you will see information on different ways you can have a role in worship. But even if you are not part of a ministry team, your presence and participation as a worshipper in our parish make a huge difference in the life of the church. Your voice and your presence matter to us and we are enriched by every new voice that joins our chorus.
Acolytes are the service participants who carry the crosses, candles, and other items in procession, and who help in a number of important ways throughout the service. Becoming an acolyte is a great way to get involved and to learn more about Episcopal worship. Acolyte service is open to anyone in fourth grade or above. Periodic mandatory training sessions are required.
In general, the duty of the Altar Guild is to prepare all things necessary for the conduct and celebration of public worship at St. John’s. This includes Sunday morning liturgies, funerals, weddings, special services such as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, as well as the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. The preparations are done reverently and prayerfully so that all services may proceed in order and to the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
Members of the Altar Guild are ever mindful that this service is a high calling and a privilege. It is their responsibility to help those who enter through the doors of St. John’s to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” This takes devotion, attention to detail and the acknowledgement that this ministry of service in the sanctuary is a sacred trust. This quiet, behind-the-scenes “holy house work” is a true gift to the entire congregation. It should be noted that the rector is always the head of the Altar Guild. The mission of the Altar Guild is to assist the rector with the conduct of worship.
Our ushers arrive early to make sure everything is in its proper place. They give out bulletins to those who are entering. They also provide people with a prayer card. (It is a small card with a name on it. Instead of reading all of the names of those we are praying for, we ask each person to pray for one name throughout the service.) Ushers also have jobs to do during the service itself. They pass and collect the offering plate during the offertory. They also guide people during communion. If you are new, you might not know what to do for communion. An usher can help you. At the conclusion of the service, the ushers look through the church and make sure no one forgot anything. The ushers make sure things run smoothly on Sunday morning. There are 3-4 ushers on every usher team. Every usher team has a “captain” who usually has some experience and can help any new ushers
Our greeters stand at the front door of the church before service begins to say hello to the parishioners of the church as well as to help people who might be visiting for the first time. It can be daunting to walk into a church when you don’t know anyone. Our greeters can answer questions like: “Where are the bathrooms?” and “Where is coffee hour?” They can also give you a listening aid if you have trouble hearing or an activity bag if you have a child with you.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers
Our mission is to support the priest and perform our duties in a consistent and reverent manner to facilitate a smoothly orchestrated service for the parishioners and to the glory of God.
Read More About Lay Eucharistic Ministers
The LEM (Lay Eucharistic Minister) ministry provides an opportunity for lay people to participate in our church services. In the past, Bishop approval and certification were required to serve as a LEM, while today, LEM service is the decision of the parish priest, who also provides the training. LEMs assist the priest in several areas of the service. Our primary duties include leading a group prayer in the sacristy prior to the service, leading the congregation in the prayers of the people, reading the Old and New Testament lessons and assisting in the administration of the chalice at the Eucharist. Other duties that may be performed during the service are at the discretion of the priest in charge, and vary by individual parish, priest and service. At St. John’s, these may include assisting the Acolyte Master, and when only one priest is available, assisting with the administration of the bread at the Eucharist. LEMs also lead Morning Prayer in the absence of a priest, and can also serve at funerals and other services, if needed. In addition, with additional training, LEMs may carry the elements to shut-ins and celebrate the Eucharist with them.
Individuals generally serve 2-4 times per schedule at the service they customarily attend. The schedule is prepared bi-monthly.
In addition to our LEMs, we have active youth Lectors, who read the lessons during the services held on the 5th Sunday in a month.
While this ministry can be very rewarding and spiritually enriching, it does require a commitment to serve when scheduled, and to be well prepared. We would encourage all parishioners to prayerfully consider if this might be a service opportunity for which you may feel called. No prior experience is required…we provide all the necessary training.