Acolyte Handbook

Acolyte Handbook

"I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, WHOEVER FOLLOWS ME WILL NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS BUT WILL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE." John 8:12

MARTIN LUTHER'S PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP

Bless me, O god, with a reverent sense of your presence, that I may be at peace and may worship you with all my mind and spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

HISTORY OF THE ACOLYTE -

As a Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran acolyte, you are joining the ranks of those who have helped with the worship service since the early Christian church.  Some say that acolytes have an even longer history - that Samuel, who assisted Eli in the Old Testament Temple, was really the first acolyte.  The word acolyte means "attendant" or "one who helps".  When you light the candles, or help in baptism you are considered an acolyte.  In accepting this position you will be serving as a companion to your Pastor: performing a number of important functions before, during, and at the close of the worship service.  You, therefore, are a minister of POPE Lutheran bringing to each worship service a special ministry.

Candlelighter

 

 

 BEFORE THE SERVICE-

  1. Arrive 15 minutes before the service.  Put on a cross and get the Candlelighter, both found in the Fellowship hall closet.
  2. Please wear appropriate attire when serving on the altar. Comfortable, but nice!!!! Please do not wear any of the following: tank tops, short shorts/skirts, ripped jeans, ripped shorts, ripped shirts, logo T-shirts.
  3. Be sure that the large altar candle is lit (This is the large white candle found to the left of the altar) if not find the Elder on duty and he will assist in lighting the candle. Also be sure the taper in the candlelighter is long enough.
  4. Check with the Pastor for any special instructions.

5 MINUTES BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE SERVICE

  1. Approach the altar with the candlelighter. Walk in a dignified and unhurried manner up the center aisle toward the altar.  Keep your head up and your eyes straight ahead. When you reach the front of the church, before you step up onto the altar, pause and look reverently at the cross for a moment.  Then, bow your head.
  2. Step up to the altar, make sure there is an inch of wick from the taper, Light the candlelighter using the flame from the large altar candle and then hold it in front of you with flame pointing ahead of you and the bell pointing back toward you.  One hand should be near the bottom of the staff and the other where it can adjust the knob that regulates the length of the taper. Light the left candle first by holding the candlelighter so that the taper is horizontal and touches the wick.  Hold the taper on the wick until you are sure the candle is lit.
  3. Walk to the middle of the altar, pause and look reverently at the cross for a moment.  Then, bow your head.
  4. Walk to and Light the Right candle.
  5.  Snuff out the flame.  Proceed to the bench on the left side of the altar and carefully and quietly place the candlelighter in its stand and then take your seat.
  6. As you sit or stand during the worship service, you will be a reminder to the other worshippers that they should be reverent when worshipping God.  Please sit up straight and refrain from fidgeting.

THE LORDS SUPPER (HOLY COMMUNION)

  1. After the Words of Institution (also called the Words of Consecration) and Holy communion is given to the Pastor/s and other serving on the altar, you will help in distributing the blood/wine of Holy Communion
  2. After the elder has received communion, take a tray of individual blood/wine cups. In early service, you will stay on the altar and follow the elder on his left hand side. In second service or continual communion, you proceed off the altar to the left with the elder and stand to his right facing the back of church.
  3. Both the common cup and individual cups will be offered to those communing. When distributing, keep the tray balanced at all times and allow easy access for those communing. Continue to rotate the tray with your fingers to allow easier access.
  4. When Holy Communion is completed in first service, return your tray to the altar and then proceed to your seat. In second service, before you step up onto the altar, pause and look reverently at the cross for a moment, then bow your head. Return your tray to the altar and then proceed to your seat.

AT THE CLOSE OF THE SERVICE

  1. As the postlude is beginning, Pastor will give you a nod that it is time. Take the candlelighter from its stand and point the bell away from you. 
  2. Extinguish the leftmost candle first. After you extinguish the left two, walk to the middle of the altar, pause and look reverently at the cross for a moment.  Then, bow your head and proceed to the right candle.
  3. Extinguish the candles with great care.  Try not to let the bell touch any part of the candlesticks. 
  4. With the candlelighter, turn and walk down the steps from the altar.  Pause, bow your head, turn to the left and stand immediately to the left. Pastor/s and the other helpers will also leave the altar and the elder will stand left of you.
  5. When everyone is off the altar. Pastor will then give you a nod. Proceed down the center aisle and out the Sanctuary doors. Return your cross and the candlelighter to the closet in the Fellowship hall.

SPECIAL SERVICES

BAPTISMS

  1.  At the appropriate time in the service, the Pastor and the Assisting Minister go to the altar.  You join them by standing on to the left of the altar.
  2. During the baptism, you can assist in pouring the water into baptismal and hold the baptismal napkin for the Pastor. 
  3. Return to your acolyte chair when the Pastor and Assisting Minister return to the altar.

ADVENT 5 MINUTES BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE SERVICE

***During Advent, light the wreath candles after the altar candles.

***On Christmas Eve, begin with the Christ candle.

During the four weeks before Christmas, we place an Advent wreath in our Sanctuary reminding us of the time needed to prepare for the birth of Christ.  The wreath holds five candles that the acolyte lights.

  1. On the first Sunday, at the beginning of the service after you light the altar candles, light one advent candle (see diagram) Extinguish your taper and return to your chair.
  2. On the second Sunday, at the beginning of the service after you light the altar candles, go to the Advent wreath and light the first 2 candles.  (see diagram) Extinguish your taper and return to your chair.
  3. On the third Sunday, at the beginning of the service after you light the altar candles, go to the Advent wreath and light the first 3 candles.  (see diagram) Extinguish your taper and return to your chair.
  4.  On the fourth Sunday, at the beginning of the service after you light the altar candles, go to the Advent wreath and light the first 4 candles.  (see diagram) Extinguish your taper and return to your chair.

CHRISTMAS

The candle in the middle of the Advent wreath is called the Christ candle. On Christmas Eve, light it first and then the other candles on the wreath.

ADVENT AT THE CLOSE OF THE SERVICE

***The Advent wreath candles are always extinguished before the altar candles.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Acolyte - from the Greek word that means "attendant" or "one who helps".

Advent - the first season of the church year.  Means "coming".

Altar - the table at the front of the church where God's family gathers. 

Candlelighter - is used by an acolyte to light candles.  It consists of a taper or wick from which the candles are lighted, and a bell for snuffing out the flame.

Candles - we have three two candles on our altar

Christ candle - the fifth candle found in the middle of the Advent wreath.  It reminds us that Christ is the center of our lives.

Nave - the area of the church where the congregation sits.

Narthex - the entryway into the worship space. 

Sacristy - the small room behind our altar where the communion ware is stored, and where the communion is prepared.

Sanctuary - means "holy place".  It is the large room where we worship.  It includes the nave and the chancel.

Taper - the long wax stem in a candlelighter.  Often called a wick.

 A NOTE TO THE PARENTS

This handbook was designed to be a tool for parents and youth alike.  Hopefully, it will answer any last minute questions your acolyte may have.  Please use it to refresh your child's memory.  Often little details are forgotten when an acolyte has not served in several weeks.

Being an acolyte is a special task entrusted to our young people.  Indeed they are ministers of POPE Lutheran.  For this reason we hope you and your acolyte will take his or her responsibility seriously.  Parents can help in these ways:

  1. Keep the handbook in a safe place so that it can be readily used.
  2. Carefully check the acolyte schedule when it first comes out.  If there are schedule conflicts, you and your youth have the responsibility of finding someone to trade dates with you.
  3. Help your acolyte to perform his or her duties by ensuring they are at the church 15 minutes before the service and look neat and well groomed.