Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. –1 Peter 4:10
The word “Acolyte” means “one who serves”, or “a devoted follower”; more specifically, the acolytes assist the celebrant in the performance of the liturgy and help ensure that the service runs smoothly.
Fortunately, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has a very dedicated group of acolytes devoted to the beauty of our worship service. There are several different types of acolytes, each with their individual roles and duties, but each bring something valuable and unique to the experience of our worship.
Torchbearers carry candles mounted on short staffs throughout the service. Our young torchbearers usually help lead the procession, just behind the Crucifer, and help light the Gospel as it is read. Usually, the first duty assigned to an acolyte is that of torchbearer, but we stress that this roles is no less important than any other.
With time, the young torchbearers are “graduated” to new roles that come with more and more responsibility. The servers sit at the priest’s side and help him throughout the worship service in a variety of ways, which include holding the Gospel book, collecting the offertory, and helping to prepare the Eucharist. The thurifer enhances solemn masses (special services) by carrying a censer of burning coals and incense at the front of the procession.
Our young children are often very enthusiastic to become acolytes, and look forward to playing a central role in the service. The youth of the congregation is vital to the life of the worshipping community, and it is important for them to feel involved in every way possible. The children take great pride in the role they are playing, and we are grateful for their contribution.
However, there is no age limit to be an acolyte, and we are also thankful to the numerous adults who serve on the altar as well. They are a huge help, and the service certainly wouldn’t be the same without their efforts as well.
Our group of acolytes is small, but mighty; they work hard to enhance the beauty of our worship at God’s altar and enjoy the unique connection with God that comes with this ministry.