ST. JOSEPH’S WORSHIP MINISTRIES
Each Sunday we gather for corporate worship and benefit from the ministry of our brothers and sisters who serve as Acolytes, Lectors, Intersesors, Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers, Muscians, Singers and Altar Guild.
Greeters are the first people you see when you worship at St. Joseph’s! Greeters create a place of warmth and welcome for all who gather by greeting people as they arrive for services and answering questions for people worshiping at St. Joseph’s for the first time. Greeters are friendly, welcoming and have a wonderful gift of hospitality. They let visitors know they are genuinely welcome and at home.
Ushers are part of the Worship Ministry and serve at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. They also greet people upon arrival. They are cordial and welcoming. An usher’s primary duties are to provide people with service bulletins and help people find seats if they are new or late, or if the church is crowded. They receive and present the offerings and direct people on their way to the altar to receive communion.
Ushers are one of the most important of our Sunday Worship Ministries. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Our ushers are often the first impression visitors have of St. Joseph’s. How they greet and shepherd those arriving to worship goes a long way in influencing their experience of our parish. In addition to greeting us at the door and handing out bulletins the ushers collect and present the offering, and guide us during communion.
Lectors are those individuals who orally interpret the scriptures for us. Each Sunday the readings from the Old and New Testaments are read by the lectors that we might hear the word of God. Lectors also lead us in the praying of the Psalms.
The office of the lector (Lay Reader) is among the oldest of liturgical lay ministries. From the ambo (podium), Lectors read the scripture lessons and lead the psalms when the psalms are not being chanted or sung. Lectors normally read well and help God’s Word come alive for those who hear it. They are assigned on a rotational basis and have the opportunity to study and rehearse the passages they are to read.
Youth and adults are welcome to be Lectors. Lectors go through initial training and ongoing coaching by the Rector.
Intercessors are those individuals who offer prayers on behalf of groups or individuals.
Each Sunday, prayers are offered by the community gathered on behalf of the world. We pray for just governance of nations, for the right use of God’s creation, for the ministry of all Christians, for the sick and those in need, for the poor and suffering and for those who have died. People are also invited to offer freeform prayers of concern and thanksgiving.
At each service an intercessor leads the congregation in the Prayers of the People. At the 8:00 am service the Eucharistic Minister serves as an intercessor. At 10:30 am the ministry of intercessory prayer includes both the leader of the Prayers of the People and those members of the congregation who offer individual prayers during the communion of the people
Intercessors are scheduled on a rotational basis. Youth and adults are welcome to be become intercessors, speak with the Rector if you would like to be a part of this ministry.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEM)
Lay Eucharistic Ministers are ministers at the Eucharist and are often referred to as chalice bearers. They are the folks who administer the chalice each Sunday at Holy Communion. However, they are also licensed by the Bishop to administer the bread as well as the wine when and if the need arises. Eucharistic Visitors serve under the direction of the Rector.
The Lay Eucharistic Ministry (LEM), which was authorized by the General Convention in 1985, offers communion to parishioners who are shut-in for any reason. They may be any member of the parish who is recommended by the clergy and vestry to the Bishop for a two-year licensure.
The rationale for this ministry is to incorporate shut-ins into the Sunday Service. This is not a social visit. To incorporate them into the Sunday Service the LEM takes communion directly from the Sunday morning Eucharist as the congregation says, “We who are many are one body, because we all share one bread.” Other members of the congregation may accompany the LEM to symbolize the community of the parish in receiving the sacraments. The Service is brief and includes the Collect, Gospel, Prayers, Confession of Sin, The Lord’s Prayer, Administration of the Holy Communion and Closing Prayer. If appropriate a few comments on the homily may be made.
A Prayer for Acolytes:
Almighty and everlasting God, who gives grace to those who minister; give your blessing, we pray, upon your acolytes appointed to serve you before your Altar. Give them seriousness of life that the service in which they engage may be to their profit and spiritual good. Through their association with holy places and holy things may they grow in the Christian life. And by their service in this earthly house where you manifest your glory, may they be prepared for that Mansion not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The word Acolyte comes from the Greek word “akolouthos,” meaning a servant or attendant who waits continually upon another: a follower. The Church ordains three major orders today – Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. In the early Church, four minor orders were also ordained – Acolytes, Lectors, Exorcists, and Ostiarii, known today as Vergers.
The ministry of Acolyte is very old, going back to at least the third century CE. These early acolytes had functions very similar to those of the modern day- they were to assist the bishop and clergy during liturgical services and help lead and define the tone of worship for the community. Like today, these early acolytes gave strong witness to their Christian faith and were dedicated to their worship community.
Tarsicus, an acolyte in Rome, was martyred in 258 when he was found bringing the Eucharist to early ‘shut-ins’; and St. Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of acolytes, was martyred in 304 CE for his defense of Christianity in a Roman court. Throughout the centuries, acolytes continue to be dedicated witnesses for Christ in both dramatic and mundane ways. The next time you see an acolyte light a candle, remember that you’re witnessing a piece of our apostolic tradition that spans at least 17 centuries!
Acolyte functions include:
- Crucifers – who processes with the cross, directs the other acolytes in the preparation of the altar at offertory, and acts as chief acolyte for the team serving that day
- Torch-bearers (Lucifers) – who process with the torches and assist the crucifer at offertory and help during communion
- Gospel Bearer – who processes with the Gospel and ensures that the correct books for worship are properly positioned on the altar
- Thurifer – who disperses incense when used.