The assisting ministers help Pastor lead worship by leading prayers, setting the communion table and distributing communion. We also have communion assistants that come up to the altar and help distribute the wine and grape juice during communion.
The lector’s job is to read the first (Old Testament) and second (New Testament) lesson during worship. On certain occasions, such as a Sunday service that includes healing, the lector also leads the congregation in the spoken psalm.
Greeters welcome people when they arrive at church and also keep an eye and ear on things in the sanctuary and at the downstairs entrance in the Howe Room during the service. Those who perform this important job must be adults capable of responding to an emergency.
There are generally two ushers at a worship service. They hand out bulletins and assist with the lift before the service begins, help latecomers find seats if necessary, collect the offering and direct the congregation during communion. They also go through the sanctuary after the service, tidying up pews and closing windows.
As part of preparation for confirmation, students (in the 5th grade) serve as acolytes. They light the candles on the altar before worship, assist with various tasks during the service and extinguish the candles afterward. On certain occasions such as Christmas and Easter, the acolyte serves as crucifer.
Crucifer – carries the cross in processions
Torch bearer – carries the candles in processions
The altar guild performs a ministry “behind the scenes” preparing and adorning our church for worship service. The altar guild of Saint John Lutheran Church is comprised of a dedicated group of women and men whose primary mission is to prepare and maintain our sanctuary for use. We prepare for regular Sunday worship services celebrating communion every Sunday. We also prepare for Lent and other seasons of the church year as well as other festivals and celebrations. Altar guild is not a ministry to be taken lightly. It is a deep commitment, but well worth the time and effort.
Decorating and coordinating flowers and plants for the altar for weekly worship and special occasions is one of our ongoing tasks. After worship the Altar Guild cleans and puts everything away until it is time to prepare for the next service.
Each member who serves on the altar guild is committed to this ministry. We appreciate their gifts of time and warmly welcome any and all members of Saint John who are interested in joining our group. Please see Nina Thilesen, chairperson, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Church Year and Colors:
• Advent – Blue or purple
• Christmas – white
• The Epiphany of our Lord – white
• Sundays after the Epiphany – green
• Lent – purple
• Holy Week – scarlet (optional)
• Easter – white
• Pentecost – red
• Holy Trinity – white
• Sundays after Pentecost – green
• Reformation Sunday – red
• Commemorations of saints – red
• All celebrations of Christ – white
Altar – the communion table, focal point of worship during the Eucharist
Burse – “envelope” placed on top of chalice ensemble and used as a storage place for communion linens
Chalice – cup that holds the wine
Chalice Veil – “tent” or covering for chalice and paten
Chancel – the area immediately surrounding the altar, often set off by a communion rail. In some denominations such as the Lutheran, Anglican (Episcopal), United Methodist and Roman Catholic churches the chancel is synonymous to the sanctuary.
Ciborium – similar to a chalice, often used to hold the communion wafers (host)
Cruet – wine container, also called flagon
Fair Linen – long white “table cloth” of the altar
Host box – box for communion wafers (host) with lid
Lectern – reading stand (ambo) where the lessons are read
Narthex – entrance vestibule
Nave – the main area of the worship space where the congregation sits
Purificator – chalice “napkin”
Pall – hard white square placed onto paten and chalice
Paraments – various cloths and material used to adorn the altar, pulpit and lectern for worship, correspond with the colors above for the seasons of the church
Paschal Candle – large candle lighted at all celebrations of Christ, baptisms and funerals
Paten – plate for the celebrant’s host
Pulpit – reading stand (ambo) where the Gospel is often read and the sermon proclaimed
Sacristy – special room for altar guild work and storage of paraments, etc.
Sanctuary – see the definition for “chancel.” In some Protestant denominations, the nave is also called the sanctuary.
Sanctuary Lamp – ever-burning light signifying the eternal presence of God placed in the sanctuary