Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ministry Spotlight: Altar server (acolyte, chalice bearer, thurifer, verger)

MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT is a new feature. Please feel free to contact Vicki about a ministry you are involved in. Remember ministries are not only through the Cathedral--you may be sharing your spiritual gifts with ministries outside the Cathedral, (such as Hands Up Food Pantry or Uptown Faith). To Spotlight your ministry email Vicki Hoppenrath at hoppenrathv@stpaulcathedral.org.

Ministry Spotlight: Altar Server
Volunteer:  Lisa Churchill

Describe your ministry:  Altar servers are volunteers who help make the worship service happen. Roles range from acolyte (with duties such as candle lighting, torch bearing, altar preparation), to thurifer (the person who carries the thurible and "boat" when incense is used), to chalice bearer (offering the Cup at Holy Communion), to verger (who helps organize the particulars of the service and keeps it running smoothly).

What have you learned about yourself through your ministry? I was surprised to experience service as a form of worship. Being on the chancel during Holy Eucharist is deeply moving.

Have you seen Jesus through your ministry? It’s hard to describe my feelings serving at chalice. I see Jesus in all the expectant, hopeful, beautiful faces receiving, “the Blood of Christ; the Cup of Salvation,” and it gives me great fulfillment—yet humility—as bearer of the Sacrament.

What is the biggest secret about your ministry?  It’s not as scary, or as complicated, as you think—people really aren’t looking at you individually. The roles are very straightforward, and you have the opportunity to progress in duties as far as you’re comfortable.

Why would you recommend your ministry to another person? 
It is very rewarding to be in service in this way. You gain a different appreciation for the flow of the Eucharist service… and you have a front-row seat to some of the best ecclesiastical music in Southern California!

What is the time commitment?  After initial training, acolytes arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled service. Thurifers and vergers have a greater commitment as they serve at Evensong as well. Servers typically join a regular team that serves once per month.

For more information about the roles of the altar servers, check out our "field guide to the processional".  If you are intrigued by altar service, don't be shy!  New members are always welcome.   Please contact The Rev Canon Brooks Mason at  <masonb@stpaulcathedral.org> to find out how to join this ministry.

1 comment:

Penelope Smith said...

Way to go Lisa! It's a great start to spotlighting which in my opinion has been needed to be done for quite a while. (English "quite) Penelope Smith