Service participants help to ensure that our weekly worship services and special celebrations offer the best possible opportunities for worshippers at St. Stephens's to give themselves in praise and thanksgiving to God. Volunteers are needed as Ushers, Licensed Eucharistic Ministers, Acolytes, and Lay Readers. We also offer opportunities to help in the preparation for the service and fellowship by working with the altar guild, music, coffee hour, and church school.
Eucharistic Ministers are lay people licensed by the Bishop to administer the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. Eucharistic Ministers may be licensed to administer the consecrated bread and wine at any celebration of the Eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of priests or deacon to assist the celebrant. They may also be licensed to go from a Sunday Eucharist or other principal celebrations of the Eucharist to share the sacrament with members of the congregation who were unable to be present at the celebration because of illness or infirmity. Eucharistic Ministers may be licensed for either or both ministries. This ministry is understood to be an extraordinary ministry, and is not to take the place of the ministry of the priests or deacons concerning the administration of the Eucharist.
Lectors are privileged to help celebrate the Service of the Word during weekly liturgies. They commit to study and practice the lessons in preparation for reading, and to meet three times annually with other lay readers and the clergy. They support each other in their effort to understand and communicate the lessons and the Prayers of the People. Lay Readers are invited to serve on a yearly basis.
Acolytes serve at the altar by assisting the clergy. Training sessions for acolytes are held periodically where clergy, adult leaders and experienced acolytes teach new recruits about their part in the liturgy. They deepen their understanding of worship through their active participation in services. Parishioners over the age of 10 who wish to lead the procession with cross and torches in and out of the service and to assist the clergy during the service are warmly welcomed.
Ushers welcome parishioners, newcomers, and visitors alike to the Church. They are a source of information and assistance. They also help maintain the decorum of the service. At the beginning of the service, they welcome everyone, providing a hand, the bulletin for the service and directions to available seats. During the Communion they assist in directing worshipers to the altar.
In general terms, the duty of the Altar Guild is to prepare all things necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist and any of the other sacraments and offices of the church. The Altar Guild serves under the direction of the clergy, who have overall responsibility for determining how Altar Guild duties are performed. Altar Guild members arrange flowers each week on the altar and decorate the church for major Feast Days such as Christmas Day and Easter Day to magnify the beauty of the celebration. Flowers can be donated from home gardens or purchased at local shops. If you are interested in making a donation, either for a Sunday service or a special memorial, or in learning to assist by arranging flowers, please contact the Senior Warden.