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 10:00 a.m. service, and at other services as needed. There is a two-hour training session and periodic refresher sessions. The LLEM ministry is currently on hiatus due to the modifications in the service required by the COVID pandemic. It is expected to return once the service returns to its pre-COVID format.
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 and assist at the Altar with preparation for the Holy Eucharist. They also assist with other worship activities as needed. The program is open to youth in grades 6th grade and older and has been guided for several years by a dedicated lay leader. We have offered an annual six week training class which covers church history, Episcopal Liturgy, as well as the mechanics of serving as we practice it at Christ Church. Due to the COVID shutdown, we suspended training classes, a large number of seniors graduated, and others no longer attend church. This leaves our numbers significantly depleted. The near future will focus on more recruitment to rebuild the program. Several adults have been enlisted to help fill the gaps.
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. New ushers receive a handbook and usually work for a couple of services with a more experienced usher.
The volunteer usher corps is currently made up of eight individuals each of whom have an assigned Sunday. They are responsible for obtaining a substitute if they are unable to usher on their assigned Sunday. We also have three or four backup individuals who are generous in filling in when asked. In the future, we will need to recruit additional individuals when we add services.
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 Eucharists on Sundays, some chapel services for Christ Episcopal School, all weddings, baptisms, memorial services, and funerals.
- Frontal and Hangings – ensuring the altar frontal and associated hangings are correct for each church season.
- Linens – washing and ironing, including special attention to stains.
- Candles – keeping candles in good working order, checking them frequently to facilitate young acolytes lighting them without undue stress. Special attention must be paid not only to the wax but to the wicks as well.
- 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.