The Lay Assistants provide three kinds of liturgical leadership: reading the Word of God (the lessons), offering the Prayers of the People (intercessory prayers), and administering the chalice. Acolytes and Greeters are also key assistants. We have a spiritual grounding, understanding that God has called us to this ministry. There are training sessions offered several times a year, for both newcomers to this ministry and a renewal for those who are experienced.
Lay Assistant Training Workshops – This workshop is for all lay assistants. It serves as training for people new to lay assisting at St. James and as a refresher for the veterans. We ask all who plan to continue as lay assistants to attend one of these workshops. Check event calendar for the next session.
The Acolytes serve the clergy and congregation during services as crucifers, torchbearers, Gospel bearers, and lavabo assistants. We are an active and growing ministry, and new adult volunteers and youth in grades 5 and up are welcome.
The overall ministry of the greeter is to offer hospitality to those who enter our doors. This can consist of handing out service bulletins, collecting the offering, guiding the movement of people during Holy Communion and providing assistance as required throughout the service. A subsidiary mission of the Greeters is tactfully to maintain good order throughout the service, and to help with emergencies that may arise.
Greeters’ Responsibilities – The responsibilities of the Greeters include arriving 30 minutes early to plan for the service; verifying the presence of the offering plates, and the wine and wafers at their respective station; welcoming each person to St. James Church as he or she arrives at the door; helping latecomers enter the service at a non-disruptive time; collecting the offering; guiding the movement of people during Holy Communion to facilitate a smooth flow of people in and out of the pews; and, after the service, straightening up the pews to prepare them for the next service. The Greeters’ job is to help the service run smoothly, enhancing the worship experience of the congregation.
It is the specific ministry of the Altar Guild to care for the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. We prepare the place of consecration, and after the community has participated in the celebration of Christ’s Presence with us, we care for the vessels, linens, vestments and furniture used in the celebration. At the consecration of a new church, the bishop blesses the Altar with this prayer—
Lord God hear us. Sanctify this table dedicated to you. Let it be to us a sign of the heavenly altar where your saints and angels praise you forever. Accept here the continual recalling of the sacrifice of your son. Grant that all who eat and drink at this table may be fed and refreshed by his flesh and blood, be forgiven their sins, united with one another and strengthened for your service. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 574)
It is our awesome task to care for that Table. That is why it is an honor to serve on the Altar Guild. We are not just a cleaning service; we have a sacred task, serving God.
Flowers of St. James Church are arranged for Sunday worship services and placed on our retable behind the altar. Our arrangements are done to the glory of God and occasionally as memorials for families who request flowers in memory of their loved ones. We purchase flowers locally, cut them from our own gardens, and mix fresh flowers with our marvelous silk collection. The Altar Guild works together to decorate for our Easter and Christmas worship services.
We all love flowers and we welcome new arrangers! If you would like to join us or just find out more about what we do, contact the church office.