The current acolyte schedule is downloadable here. Posted November 11, 2010
Acolytes assist the services of divine worship. Students in grades 7 – 12 are eligible to serve as acolytes at St. Francis. The single most reliable indicator that a young person will adhere to the Church as she or he grows older? Acolyte service.
The Server: The Server (or 'Altar Server') takes part in the procession to the altar and is responsible for receiving the offering plates presented by the ushers, placing the plates on the lower shelf of the credence table, and standing at the credence table to hand the Celebrant first the bread in the ciborium, then the large flagon, and then the cruets of wine and water, returning each container to the credence table as the Celebrant hands them back to the server. The Server remains ready, during the communion, to assist the Celebrant as might be necessary.
The Crucifer ('Cross bearer'): The crucifer leads the procession into the sacred space. It is an important role, the cross, lifted high, reminding us of the One who makes all our praise possible, who promised to be with us now and always. Not in the summer, but during the normal schedule, the Crucifer leads children out of the sanctuary through the bell tower to attend the children's time during the sermon at the nine o'clock service, assisted by the torches.
Torch bearers: Torch bearers process alongside the Crucifer. Bearers place their torches in their stands behind the choir loft. They assist at the communion by offering help to communicants needing assistance at the chancel rail.
The word ”acolyte” comes from the Greek word “akolouthos” which means a servant or attendant who waits on another. In contemporary Anglicanism, 'acolyte' is a general term which covers not only servers, torchbearers, and lighters of candles but also crucifers, thurifers, and banner-bearers. Acolytes are mentioned as a minor order (along with porters, lectors, and exorcists) as early as a letter of Pope Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch in 252. They were also mentioned in Cyprian's writings. They assisted deacons or subdeacons at the preparation of the table. Later they carried candles in processions. In Rome they carried fragments of the bread consecrated at the papal Mass to other churches. In the late middle ages, when candles began to appear upon altars, they lighted the altar candles.
Acolyte ministry originated in Jewish Temple worship. The Scriptures tell us of the prophet Samuel assisting Eli the priest and of Eli being assisted by Elisha. The New Testament illustrates early Christian adoption of this custom, which has been carried forward to the present day. The acolyte assists priests and deacons so that worshipers may celebrate the Holy Eucharist and other rites of the Church with simple dignity. In fact, the Book of Common Prayer states, “At all celebrations of the Liturgy, it is fitting that the principal celebrant . . . be assisted by other priests, and by deacons and lay persons.”
When serving, you are actively assisting the celebrant in leading the faithful in the worship of God. It is an important role that should be approached with reverence, humility and care. Punctuality is important. When you are on time, everything flows more smoothly. Pay attention. Be aware of where you are in the service so that you will be prepared. Participate. Many parishioners will look to you for guidance and direction. Take an active part in the worship service and assist younger acolytes in following the service. Above all, enjoy what you're doing to the glory of God.