THE MINISTRY OF THE ACOLYTE

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Background

The ministry of acolyte has a rich history, which stems from Old Testament times. The acolyte assists the priest in order that the Holy Eucharist and other rites of the Church may be celebrated with simple dignity and permit full participation. The youth of the church, ages eight and up, are given the opportunity to learn more about the Episcopal Church and to actively participate in the services.

Present Day

Saint Sebastian's by-the-Sea has an active acolyte program that goes back over 50 years. Generally, acolytes come from the children of church members. Young people going into Grades 4 – 12 AND ADULTS  of any age are encouraged to apply and participate. Many acolytes end up serving over many years. The lower age limit has been set because the acolyte must have the physical ability to successfully carry the cross, banner or torch (candle). However,  younger acolytes have been accepted but they must demonstrate both the physical ability and temperament to carry the candles. 

 
Here are some key concepts that need to be considered when thinking about becoming an Acolyte:

Commitment

Acolytes understand and agree that they are expected to perform the duties of this ministry faithfully as a personal commitment of their time and talent in the service of the Lord. This includes not only serving on the day they are scheduled but also learning about being an acolyte through reading and training.

Attendance/Punctuality

A monthly Acolyte Schedule will be e-mailed at the end of each month for the following month. It is also on the website and posted in the Vesting Room on the bulletin board. Acolytes serve when they are scheduled unless special circumstances (sickness, family emergency, etc.) prevent them from doing so. If an acolyte cannot perform their scheduled duties they will inform the Acolyte Leader, or the Church Secretary  so other arrangements can be made. It is possible, but unlikely, that an acolyte might be contacted on Saturday night or Sunday morning to see if they can fill in. Acolytes understand that the Church  needs acolytes to serve at their scheduled services. The acolyte will be at the church and in full vestment (alb  cross and candle) at least 15 minutes prior to the worship service.

Appearance

As we live in Florida and we are a beach side Church, our dress standards are somewhat casual. You will be assigned an Alb (white robe) which you are responsible for to hang up and to let the Acolyte Leader know if it needs cleaning or repair. The Alb hides most of what you wear but please no extreme footwear and no shirts where the words show through the fabric. No hooded sweatshirts as the hood will show from the top. No hats, and minimal jewelry. Please keep your vestments clean and hang them up neatly after the service. Part of your training will include how to Vest and tie the cinture (rope belt).

Conduct

An Acolyte is a minister in the service he/she is serving. You will be expected to fully participate in the liturgy by responding to the prayers, reciting any creeds, listening to the readings, and singing the hymns. Other worshipers can see you at all times so you need act accordingly. No gum chewing or eating/drinking during the service. Please no laughing, joking, whispering or fooling around as this will distract from the service. Please do nothing that will take away from the message of the service. Always remember that it is an Honor to serve as an Acolyte.

Training

All new Acolytes will receive training from the Acolyte Leader, Priest and veteran Acolytes. Experienced Acolytes will be expected to help out the new Acolytes. Normally,  new younger Acolytes start out by bearing the torches. Torches are always done in pairs. You will also receive an informational booklet on how to Acolyte properly. As the younger Acolytes get more comfortable in serving you will be promoted to Second Server, First Server,  Thurifer etc...  You will receive training for all of these positions.

St. Sebastian's-by-the-Sea Acolyte Leader

While we recognize how important and serious the job of the Acolyte is, we also try to have fun. We schedule fun events for the Acolytes such as pool parties, rock climbing, movies, bowling, etc...  and we have the annual Wet N' Wild Acolyte Fest where the acolytes go for free every May. To inquire about becoming an Acolyte, or to help support the Acolytes,  please contact Kurt Belsten at 321-794-4309 (cell)  or the Church Office at: 321-723-3015 or by email:  alison@saintsebastian.org