Sunday morning worship is a team effort. The Book of Common Prayer, from which all our worship services are taken, encourages and equips people for worship that brings everyone working together to sing God’s praise. There are clergy persons and lay persons; young people and adults; men and women; people who serve before, people who serve during, and people who serve after worship, and all the parts together make for true and honorable worship of God, who calls us all by name.
Acolytes are young people who assist clergy and lay ministers in conducting the liturgy. Carrying sacred items in procession, and assisting with Holy Communion, Acolytes are young people who assist clergy and lay ministers in conducting the liturgy. Carrying the processional cross, an acolyte leads the procession into and out of the church. Leading clergy in the gospel procession, one acolyte bears the gospel and two others carry torches, signifying Christ’s light coming into the world as the gospel is read. An acolyte assists the presider at the altar; assists the ushers with offertory plates; prepares for the Eucharist by closing and opening the sanctuary gates. By participating in this ministry, acolytes perform major roles in the worship service. Acolytes affirm that children belong not only in church but in leadership. Also, there’s donuts!
The St. Stephen’s Altar Guild is a group of dedicated parishioners that is responsible for preparing the altar and sanctuary for worship, and for the care and maintenance of the worship vessels and vestments of the parish. It is a ministry that is prayerful, careful, and joyful. The Altar Guild helps all of us to worship God, “in the beauty of holiness.”
The choir lead the congregation in song. Under the direction of our Director of Music Ministry, choir members participate weekly in our 10am service, and at special times of year such as Christmas and Easter. in addition to leading hymns, the choir also sing anthems and other special pieces of music to support the liturgy.
Greeters are the welcoming face of the congregation. They help newcomers who may not be familiar with our campus, and welcome old friends who come every Sunday. Greeters usually serve in pairs, and also help direct newcomers to coffee hour after the service.
Every person is a minister, and the “lay ministers” are those ministers of the liturgy who are not ordained clergy. Lay ministers serve in teams and work with clergy and acolytes to marshal the liturgy and conduct the service from the altar: reading scripture, leading prayers, and assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion.
Our Hospitality teams serve every Sunday and make sure that our coffee hour is a welcome place for guests and regulars alike: making sure there’s coffee and cream, and providing more than the usual coffee hour fare.
Ushers welcome people to worship, help orient newcomers, and play a role in marshaling the liturgy. Ushers serve in teams every Sunday morning, with each service having its own team.