Worship Lay Ministries
During times of Worship, there are several lay participates who actively contribute to our Holy experience. These people are Parish members and their ministry actions represent the worship community with Holy participation. If you are interested in serving the ministry of the church in any one of these capacities, please contact the Church Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An important ministry for our youth and adults is to serve as Acolytes. The word “acolyte” means “helper”. With the Acolytes’ responsibilities, they perform valuable services in helping those in charge of the Worship. At the beginning of the service, they are lighters of the candles and extinguishers of the flame at the end. During the processional, they may carry candles (torch bearers), banners, or the cross (crucifers) as the ministers and choir enter or exit the church.
The Acolytes assist with the Gospel Procession when it is read from the center of the church. They also help with receiving the offerings from the congregation and assist the priest with his or her duties at the Altar.
St. Philip welcomes worshipers who want to become a part of this vital ministry. Training is scheduled at convenient times for participants.
Parish ushers are persons who help ensure a smoothly running church service and who ministers to people in a variety of practical ways. Their duties include greeting people as they arrive for the service, assisting people with special needs, collecting the offering. St. Philip provides a pocket tag that easily identifies our ushers.
As the worshipers arrive, the ushers will act as doorkeepers, greeting each person with a smile, shaking hands, and handing out bulletins. They are also available to answer visitors’ questions and extend extra help in seating those who need the assistance. They are ready to assist anyone in the congregation who might need help, to aid latecomers in finding a seat, and to inform those in the sanctuary of any urgent matters. The ushers will always present first-time visitors with a welcome gift bag.
As a part of the liturgy, the ushers are responsible for taking up the church offering and then walk back toward the alter during a hymn of praise. They hand the plates to the Verger who then presents it to the Rector who blesses the tithes and offerings. Also, they count the number of worshipers so the Rector will know the amount of bread and wine to prepare for the Eucharist.
After the service, ushers will again be at the door to greet the congregation as they leave and provide assistance as needed. The ushers will then make sure that the sanctuary is tidy, the thermostat is adjusted, and the lights are shut off.
The heart of an usher is that of a servant, and he/she does this work for his Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:24). The church usher has a true love for the people of the Parish and a desire to promote an atmosphere of reverence and worship in the house of the Lord..
The term verger usually refers to a member of an Anglican Church who takes on the extra duties of planning the details of services, participating in religious processions, and can substitute for any worship role except Priest or Deacon. The word verger comes from the ceremonial staff or rod that the verger carries during these processions — in Old French, a verge is a "twig, branch, or wand of office."
Vergers serve the church in a ministry of welcome. Often a visitor to a new parish church will see the verger in a simple black cassock moving about the church before the worship service, checking fonts, candles, and in general prepping the church for solemn worship.
The verger is usually the first person a visitor meets and cheerfully responds to any inquiry concerning the upcoming service, church facilities or current program offerings. Logistically, a verger’s support allows the clergy more time for pastoral and sacramental responsibilities.
Many of the other typical verger duties include assigning, training and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes and prayer intercessors. The verger coordinates with the altar guild and funeral guilds, checks lighting, and the Priest’s vestments and liturgical hangings. Above all, he/she works behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly during the liturgy. All of the Verger's duties are specific to the church in which he/she serve and can evolve through many years under the direction of the rector.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEM)
Lay Eucharistic Ministers are licensed by the bishop to administer the consecrated elements of the eucharist. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed to administer the consecrated bread and wine at any celebration of the eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of priests and deacons to assist the celebrant.
They may also be licensed to go from a Sunday eucharist or other principal celebrations of the eucharist to share the sacrament with members of the congregation who were unable to be present at the celebration because of illness or infirmity. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed for either or both ministries. This ministry is understood to be an extraordinary ministry, and is not to take the place of the ministry of priests and deacons concerning the administration of the eucharist.
The Lay Reader volunteers to read the Scripture Lessons during worship services. The Book of Common Prayer directs that laypeople should read the lessons preceding the Gospel. The readers at St. Philip are provided a printed copy of Lessons well in advance so they may practice their reading. All scripture readings are derived from the Episcopal Church Lectionary.
Oblation Bearers are responsible for processing the oblations (the bread and wine to be offered for consecration) to the altar during the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion). They also represent the entire congregation in which we offer our lives to God as a “reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice.”
The Offering Counters count the Sunday and special service offerings and prepare the receipts for bank deposit. They document the giving for the finance secretary who then enters the information in the church finance database, preparing a record for each giver.