Instructions for Worship Assistants

This is a bit of a work in progress as we transition to 9:30am service … read over and let us know what needs changing!  Even if you only have one of these roles, please read through all instructions – so as to be better prepared to help one another out.

GREETERS: Your role is to provide hospitality, especially before and after the worship service. No instructions can encompass all situations. Seek to make visitors feel welcome in any way possible.

Show up at 9:15am or earlier, put on your nametag. Open both (outer) doors to narthex.- Put out worship sign from narthex closet. Check to see that there are cups near the water dispenser – extras in narthex closet or kitchen, and that the narthex looks tidy, and that the library and nametag closet is unlocked.

As people arrive, greet each person and hand out bulletins. Members should be asked to wear nametags – which is helpful not only to guests but to newer members.

Visitors should be greeted warmly. Introduce yourself.  In addition to the bulletin, you might hand them a “Welcome to St Luke” brochure (found near the door). Please ask that they sign the guestbook, including email or phone number! The visitor slips in the bulletin are too often lost, and having contact information is crucial as we seek to engage guests.

Visitors with children: Anna & Karen Buesing have put together “kids’ packs” with stickers and such in addition to the kids’ bulletins, to be given to small children. They are in the guestbook stand. Explain that children are welcome throughout the worship service – if parents would like, they are welcome to use the nursery (you might point to where it is). You might also show them the library with kids’ books and comfortable places to sit, and mention Sunday School at 10:45 for all ages (may need directions).

After worship, please try and leave the sanctuary earlier than any visitors!  Mention you hope they can attend coffee and fellowship after worship, and are welcome to join the adult forum / sanctuary. You might want to show visitors the way to Sanctuary, Sunday School, or even the Fellowship Hall. If appropriate, introduce visitors to others.  Please help tidy up after coffee hour if possible.

USHERS Your role is to provide hospitality, especially during the worship service. A host keeps an eye out for guests. Who needs help knowing how to find a hymn or the restroom? Please wear your name tag.

When the worship service begins, shut inner Sanctuary doors. Guests coming afterwards can be directed to enter side doors.  Sometime after the first hymn, count the number of people in attendance and record on sheet in narthex closet.  During the hymn of the day, please collect prayer concern cards and bring to the pastor.

Offering – move towards back during the exchange of peace. When the offering music begins, walk forward to collect plates, pass plates, and as soon as acolytes or pastor is standing ready to receive, carry forward (when there is a second offering, simply do this with two sets of plates). You may then be seated.

During Holy Communion – after Lord’s Prayer, prepare to help with Holy Communion. Be aware of anyone who may need help getting to the front. When we are kneeling, one usher invites whole rows into line, while the other usher stands in front, sending people from the front of the line to the altar rail: from left to right, seven or maybe eight persons per side (14-16 total.) During intinction Sundays, left (piano) side goes forward first. A gesture may also help guests find their way back around the side aisles.

After worship – At the beginning of last verse of sending hymn, open sanctuary doors. Afterwards, please help tidy up sanctuary, removing bulletins and papers, replacing books, etc… Hymnals go on “aisle” side, Bibles on other side of racks. Also, please help tidy up after coffee hour.

LECTOR: Your role is to read and lead scripture audibly. The office administrator will send readings to you ahead of time. If you want to find them yourself, look for the corresponding date in red “ELW” book or, but occasionally readings are changed based on St Luke’s needs.

Before worship, read through scripture. If you are unsure about pronunciation, rest assured that no one knows how ancient words were pronounced! If you would like the pastor’s opinion, ask. Some psalms are read responsively and others may be set to music – instructions will be provided.

When you get to church: Check that the microphone is moved close to the big bible in front, and try it out – obviously, the most important thing is that you’re heard! Many of us think our voices are clearer than they really are, especially to those who don’t hear well. A microphone is essential.

When it’s time to read: Refrain from any greeting aside from introductory words sent with the readings. Read slowly, clearly, with inflection (overly dramatic readings can distract, monotonous readings are … monotonous!). Allow a short pause between each reading. If two readings are separated by a Psalm or other interlude, please sit in one of the chairs at the front so you can be ready for your next reading.

During Communion – ONLY if it’s an intinction (dipping) Sunday with two stations – please come to the altar and assist with communion distribution. On kneeling Sundays or when there is only one station, the Assisting Minister and acolyte will assist with communion. When you are needed, you will normally distribute wine/grape juice, saying “the blood of Christ, shed for you” to each person. With bread, it’s “the body of Christ, given for you,” and a simple blessing for the children (God bless you and love you). After all have communed, pastor will commune you and you will bring communion to musicians.

ASSISTING MINISTER: Your role is to assist throughout much of the worship service, especially in offering prayers on the congregation’s behalf.

Before worship – prepare prayers of intercession. Tim will email you early that week “generic” prayers prepared by ELCA folk. These can be used pretty much as is with an extra petition added for people on the prayer list.

OR (better!) they can be adapted, revised, replaced to reflect what’s going on in the news and congregation. Here’s the basic format for the prayers, in rough order:

Prayers reflect the wideness of God’s mercy for the whole world—
for the church universal, its ministry, and the mission of the gospel;
for the well-being of creation;
for peace and justice in the world, the nations and those in authority, the community;
for the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely;
for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit;
for the congregation, and for special concerns.

Prayers of thanksgiving for the faithful departed may include those who recently have died and those commemorated on the church’s calendar.

Vest? – robes are symbol of baptism (in theory, all the baptized participants at worship might wear).

Near beginning of service – optional (for those comfortable singing) and only during certain times of the year, lead the Kyrie (“Lord have mercy ..”). You can practice with Bettie.

After the sermon, lead the prayers of intercession, using prayers you prepared. The pastor will begin by asking the congregation for prayer requests, which he will incorporate into the prayers before you finish with the concluding petition.

At communion – join the Pastor at the altar just as offertory song ends. There may be an offering prayer that you will read.

Pastor continues leading communion music, prayers. Assist pastor at communion – distributing bread when there is intinction with two stations, otherwise distributing the wine. With wine / grape juice you say “the blood of Christ, shed for you” to each person. With bread, it’s “the body of Christ, given for you,” and a simple blessing for the children (God bless you and love you). After all have received communion, at the pulpit, read the post-communion prayer chosen for season, such as:

We give you thanks, almighty God,
that you have refreshed us
through the healing power of this gift of life.
In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift,
in faith toward you
and in fervent love toward one another;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

End of service: During last verse of sending hymn, walk to the front of the sanctuary and say the following:  Go in peace. Remember the poor.  Thanks be to God.

One thought on “Instructions for Worship Assistants

  1. Pingback: Serving in Worship – March 2014 | St Luke News

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