Lay Eucharistic Ministers Our Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMS) are charged with assisting the Priest/Deacon during the service. They read the Bible lessons, lead the Psalm, pray the Prayers of the People and assist in serving the consecrated wine to the congregants. Some also give appropriate Homilies from time to time. There are typically two LEMS assigned to the 10 am Sunday morning service and one to the 5:30 pm Saturday evening service. They also are assigned to Special Day and Special Occasion services as needed. Presently there are 18 LEMS. This allows many of our parish leaders a chance to serve in this capacity.
Acolytes These are normally the young people of the Parish who serve as Torch bearers, Crucifer or Server. Four are normally assigned to the Sunday morning service. Their services are also called on for some of the Special Day and Special Occasion services. They are trained and scheduled by the Acolyte Master.
Ushers are charged with making sure the needs of the congregation are met prior to, during and following the service. They welcome members as they arrive for the church service, assisting visitors with finding our Sunday School or other facility and on busy days, they assist people in finding a seat. They hand out service leaflets, take a count of the congregation and also carry the gifts of bread and wine to the Altar. They receive a collection of offerings, present the offering to the Priest for a blessing, prepare the Altar rail and kneelers for the Holy Eucharist. They also call the Sunday School to come into the church for communion, guide and assist the communicants as they move to the Altar to receive, and straighten up the church following the service. They serve on a rotating basis. There are two at the Sunday morning service and one at the Saturday evening service. They may be assigned to other services as needed.
Greeters share our parish’s spirit of warm welcome with everyone, both new and longtime members. During the Peace each Sunday, the greeter makes a welcome announcement. At the conclusion of services they join the rector to greet all worshippers, welcome newcomers, answer questions, and provide an invitation to coffee hour. The Greeters host Name Tag services throughout the year, and distribute Welcome Mugs to newcomers.
Prayer ministers are individuals who have been selected by the Priest and have been instructed in how to be humble listeners of events that are touching the lives of our congregants and to pray with them for a peaceful resolution to their need. Normally two are assigned to both the Saturday and Sunday services. They receive congregants during the serving of Holy Communion by standing near the Lady Altar, which is out of the way and in a semi-private spot where all can share.
Altar Guild The Altar Guild, comprised of women and men, is charged with making sure that the Altar is prepared for the Eucharist services on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The Director of the Altar Guild holds four meetings per year to establish scheduling of members’ duties. The responsibility of Altar Guild teams are to ensure that the correct liturgical color Altar hangings are in place during each church season, the linens are clean and ironed, the flowers are on the Altar and the Eucharist bread and wine are placed in the cruets and ciborium. Following the service they clean up and distribute the Altar flowers to those in need. Additionally, Altar Guild members participate as Guides for Weddings and Funerals and ensure that the church is prepared for these special services as well as for Baptisms.
The Office of Verger dates back to the early days of the Anglican Church when the verger was the Protector of the Procession. The verger led the procession, often moving through crowds of people and animals in medieval times. The virge is the staff that a verger carried to clear a pathway through the crowd. Today, in many churches and cathedrals you will see a verger, vested in gown and carrying a virge, ceremonially leading the procession. It is said that the verger serves the church in a ministry of welcome and the duties of the verger vary from parish to parish. Beyond ceremonial duties, the Good Shepherd verger serves in many other capacities throughout the church. Much of the work is done behind the scenes, providing support for the Rector in liturgical needs, setting up lay ministry books for the lay servers, and coordination with the Altar Guild and Sexton in preparation of the physical facilities, particularly for special services. At Good Shepherd, our verger can be seen leading the procession for the high services such as Christmas, Palm Sunday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and whenever appropriate.