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200 NW 3rd Street Okeechobee, FL

MINISTRIES

Acolytes

The ministry of the acolyte is one of the oldest ministries in the church and one of the most well known. Acolytes are the assistants of the deacons who in turn are the assistants of the bishop or priest.

An acolyte assists in worship by carrying a processional cross, lighting candles, holding the Gospel book, holding candles or “torches”, assisting a deacon or priest set up and clean up at the altar, swinging a censer or thurible, or carrying the incense boat, handing the offering plates to ushers, and many other tasks as seen fit by the priest or acolyte warden.

Time Requirements: During the services, approximately 11/2 hours.

Altar Guild

The Altar Guild is a group of deeply committed persons, dedicated to serving our Lord by preparing the sanctuary, the altar, the priest’s vestments, hangings, vessels and elements and doing all that they can to make worship meaningful and beautiful.

The Altar Guild serves under the direction of the rector, who has overall responsibility for determining how Altar Guild duties are performed. They do the work in the background and strive to help the worship life of the parish run smoothly.

They work in teams on a weekly basis to perform some of the following duties:
Draping the altar and walls with the appropriate hangings for the season.
Setting up the altar communion vessels prior to each service.
After each service, cleaning and storing the items used.
Laundering linens used during the service.
In general they work to maintain the articles used in the worship life of the parish.

There is a period of training during which each new member is assigned to work with a team leader who is responsible for the instruction. However, generous support and camaraderie is shared by all members of the guild.

Time Requirement: Before and after the Sunday and Wednesday service, approximately 3 hours.

Eucharistic Ministers 

The Eucharist or Holy Communion is the most important element of the church service. The primary role of the Lay Eucharistic Minister is to assist the priest in administering the bread and wine, by normally offering the Chalice of Wine to the communicants. In this role they wear vestments and take part in the processionals that open and close the service. During the service they also lead the congregation in the Nicene Creed and the Prayers of the People.

Unlike many lay ministries in the Church, Lay Eucharistic Ministers are asked to serve by the priest. After comprehensive training they are licensed to serve in their home parish. Once licensed, a Eucharistic Minister administers both the bread and the wine and can administer home communion to the sick and housebound.

Lay Readers

For centuries, church communities have chosen people for the task of reading Scriptures at worship. To be a reader or lector is more than just fulfilling a task, it is a calling and a spiritual discipline. Reading is a commitment to effective sharing of Scripture during our worship services. It is a commitment to preparing oneself so that one’s reading becomes a vehicle for God’s Word.

A Lay Reader is a story teller who enjoys reading in public and has the gift to read clearly and persuasively. Good liturgy is well rehearsed, so it is important that Lay Readers be disciplined to prepare by practicing the readings before arriving at the worship service.

A schedule of Lay Readers is prepared a month in advance and the readings for the month are mailed by the Church Secretary to the volunteers at least a week before the scheduled commitment. Also, Pronunciation Guides for those tongue-twistingly unfamiliar names and places are also available online.

Time Requirement: Prior to the worship service, approximately 30 minutes.

Ushers/Greeters

The ministry of the usher/greeter is largely one of hospitality; indeed, hospitality is a way we make our faith in Christ visible to others. The usher/greeter is usually the first person someone, whether new or a “regular”, sees when arriving for worship. This ministry of welcome and hospitality will begin to set the tone for their worship experience that day. The usher/greeter presence alone may meet their need for a godly connection – perhaps it’s been a difficult week for them or one full of joy. In any case, the usher/greeter is the one who will meet and greet them first in the name of the Lord and extend a hand or offer a smile that says, “it’s good that you are here.”

The general duties of the usher are:
Greet the parishioners and hand them a service bulletin as they enter the church. Be sure to arrive at the church 20 minutes before the service and stay at the back of the church or just outside the entry door. If the parishioner is new, give him/her a “Welcome Packet” from the back table.
Count everyone in the church and record the numbers on the attendance slip, which can be found in the drawer of the drop leaf table in the back. You will place the attendance form in the offering plate when they are accepted by the server.
Gather the offering from the parishioners by first going forward to the altar gate and taking the collection plate from the server. Then pass the plates through the congregation for the collection, proceeding a pew at a time. Remain at the back of the church until the organist starts to play the doxology. Then take the plates forwardto give to the server. Then place the “gate kneeler” in front of the altar gate and return to the back.
Assist with Communion by guiding the communicants to the Communion Rail. Also inform the priest when you commune that there are parishioners who need communion taken to them at their seat. Then return to back of the church and open the doors at the end of the service.
Invite any newcomers and visitors at the end of the service to attend our coffee hour and show them where the parish hall is located.
Time Requiement: Before and after the service, a total of approximately 30 minutes.