Lay Participation in Worship
For those who desire a closer connection with worship at Christ Church, and especially the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, there are various opportunities to actively participate in the worship service.
There are also opportunities to assist in worship at Christ Church beyond serving in the worship service. Volunteering as an usher, greeter or counter offers parishioners a chance to meet other members of the congregation as well as serve the church. Serving on the Altar Guild provides the opportunity to participate behind the scenes in the worship celebration.
LEMs are lay individuals licensed by the Diocese to serve Communion. They also read scripture, lead the congregation in the Nicene Creed and Prayers of the People, and assist the clergy in the Gospel procession by holding the Gospel book. LEMs serve at the regular services, funerals and weddings, Holy Week services, and at periodic school Eucharists. LEMs may also be called upon to perform acolyte duties. LEMs serve every one to two months at the 8:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. service, and at other services as needed. There is a two-hour training session and periodic refresher sessions.
Lectors read the scripture during regular church services. They are called to serve approximately once a month. Both adults and youth participate in this ministry as a way to be more intimately involved in the word of the Lord.
This youth ministry serves to assist the clergy in the orderly conduct of worship. Acolytes lead processions with the cross and candles and assist at the altar with the preparation of the Holy Eucharist. Following a seven-week training class in the fall, acolytes serve about one Sunday a month at any of the three services. Acolytes also serve for weddings, funerals, and other special worship services. This ministry is open to youth in grades 6 - 12.
Ushers greet people upon their arrival and distribute the Sunday Bulletin. During the service, they take the collection, count attendance, deliver the collection and elements to the altar, and direct worshipers to the communion rail, providing assistance as needed. Following the service, they clean up used bulletins from the pews and deposit the collection in the sacristy. Ushers may also answer questions from attendees and handle any issues or emergencies that arise during the service.
There are generally two ushers per regular service and four at each of the Easter and Christmas services. Ushers serve from once a month to once every six weeks, depending on the service time. New ushers receive a handbook and usually work for a couple of services with a more experienced usher.
The ushering ministry is perfect for couples or families who wish to participate in a useful and meaningful way in the worship service and meet other members of the congregation. Many of our young parishioners started experiencing parish life by ushering with their parents. This is an excellent ministry for singles as well.
Greeters are members of the Welcoming Committee who greet visitors to the church following the service to answer questions and provide a welcoming presence. Greeters generally serve once a month at the 10:00 a.m. service.
Counters are responsible for collecting the monies from the sacristy and counting them after the Sunday services. They follow well-established procedures to collate plate receipts, pledges, and special offerings. At least two counters serve each Sunday following the 10:00 a.m. service. Counters serve one Sunday a month, and the process takes about 30-40 minutes.
The Altar Guild is responsible for preparing the church for religious services at Christ Church. These include the three Eucharists on Sundays, the Wednesday noontime service, Eucharistic chapel services for Christ Episcopal School, weddings, baptisms, memorial services and funerals. Members of the Altar Guild work in teams of three (two in the summer months) for a period of two weeks. Each team has a crew leader, an experienced member of the guild. Composition of the teams changes with each rotation so that you come to know all the volunteers and make new friends in the process.
- Frontal and Hangings – ensuring the altar frontal and associated hangings are correct for each church season.
- Linens – washing and ironing, including special attention to wine and lipstick stains.
- Candles – keeping candles in good working order, checking them frequently to facilitate young acolytes lighting them without undue stress.
- Candle snuffers – changing the wicks in the candle snuffers and keeping the snuffers clean.
- Silver – keeping the silver and brass clean and polished. Most of the brass has been lacquered and requires only regular dusting.
- Flowers – placing the flowers in proper containers on the altar. Decorating the church for Christmas and Easter, including placing the poinsettias and lilies.
After indicating your interest in Altar Guild, there will be an orientation, either individual or group, to familiarize you with our work area. If there are several new members, we organize a training session where experienced members demonstrate the various duties. Alternatively, you may wish to drop in with a working team and watch their activities and participate as you are able. Gradually you will take on more responsibility. You will be given an Altar Guild Manual. At the next scheduling opportunity, you would then be integrated into the teams as your schedule permits. At no time will you be required to work on your own if you are not comfortable with the task.