Grace Church has always supported a very active lay liturgical ministry. Coordinated by our verger and his assistants, lay ministers participate in all liturgical services at Grace. In our church family, we are all ministers, but there are members whose ministry and avocation is to volunteer to lead us in worship. There are many opportunities to serve God and our congregation within the guilds associated with worship.
Members of the guild range in age from eight to eighty, and many are trained to perform several functions at the altar, as they advance from one role to the other, according to their inclination and comfort level. We particularly emphasize the participation of our children and youth. We try to foster an atmosphere of comfort and camaraderie among our ministers, and encourage older ministers to mentor and help our younger colleagues.
Including all categories, there are well over a hundred members of our parish family involved in liturgical ministries, including 38 active acolytes, many of whom are also Verger’s Assistants, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors and Choristers.
New acolytes are commissioned on Acolyte Sunday. This was held at the end of October in 2016, when these photos were taken.
During the Summer season, the Cary Altar is placed down in front of the pews. An acolyte is shown in this photo, lighting a candle at the Cary Altar.
Throughout the rest of the year, acolytes lead our processions, during which the congregation is embraced and drawn toward the altar.
They literally and symbolically carry the light of Christ into the church with their torches and the lighting of the candles, they deliver objects used during the service to the other ministers.
They lead the congregation in worship by their example, and bring the joy of the Holy Spirit with their kite.
Readings from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are given at all services. Members of the congregation, both young and old, vest as part of the altar party to give these readings.
Our clergy and the congregation send us forth on our Eucharistic visitations saying "I send you forth bearing these holy gifts; that those to whom you go may share with us in the communion of Christ's Body and Blood. We who are many are one body because we all share one bread, one cup." This takes place at the altar prior to the post communion prayer as the Eucharistic Visitors are handed the Consecrated Elements by the Celebrant.
Our Eucharistic Visitors are licensed and trained by the Diocese of Massachusetts and take the Consecrated Elements following a Celebration of the Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present.
We meet quarterly to share our thoughts and feelings on our visitations and to discern where our ministry is leading us. Our ministry reaches out to our parishioners and friends of Grace who are unable to attend services. The Eucharist is also taken to members who are hospitalized.
It is a joy for all of us to share the Eucharist with our shut-ins. If you know someone who could benefit from this ministry, please let us know so we can add them to our list by contacting the Coordinator, Charlene Ryder, or the Rector.
Ushers and Greeters
Greeters and Ushers greet us and help to make the congregation comfortable, collect and present the offering, ask members to deliver the elements, lead us to communion, and perform other duties.
The Altar Guild is responsible for preparing and maintaining all the ceremonial and practical objects and vessels needed for the liturgy.
During the Summer months, the Altar Guild maintains the Cary Altar.