Thanks for volunteering to be an usher at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. Here’s a description of the duties we ask you and your co-usher to perform.
Arrive at the church at 10:15 am. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the location of the fire extinguisher in the hallway next to the door of the Sacristy. If you have not read them recently, reread the procedures for dealing with a fire that are stored in the left drawer of the secretary in the narthex.
Make sure you see the bulletins stacked on the table in the narthex and ready to give to people as they arrive. If there is any special music not in the hymnbook or the Epiphany songbook, you should see it stacked on the table. Also, check to make sure the cup and plate for the Eucharist are in position on the table in the back of the nave.
As people begin arriving, take the time to greet each person and welcome them to worship. If you don’t recognize someone, introduce yourself by name. If they are new to the church or are visiting us, and if they seem amenable, try to pair them up with a church member who can sit with them during the service. If we seem to be running low on bulletins, don’t be afraid to ask regulars to share a bulletin. Continue to greet those who arrive and pass out bulletins. When the prelude finishes, Father Wells will make an opening statement from the rear of the nave. Make sure you wait to hear his “Amen,” and then ring the outdoor bell three times, about one second apart. Continue to greet those who arrive and hand out bulletins until midway through the processional hymn. You’re done for a while now and can take your seat with the rest of the congregation.
Your duties resume during the passing of the peace. Soon after it begins (don’t wait until it’s about to end), take your place with your co-usher in the back of the nave, holding the communion elements. During the announcement time, both you and your co-usher should count all the people attending – that’s all humans including children, staff, priest, and those serving but not including babes in arms – and make sure your counts agree. Position the wine pitcher with the handle facing forward so the Lay Eucharistic Minister can grasp it easily.
When the priest announces the offering and the music begins, process from the back of the nave to the front, carrying the elements. As you pass the elements to the Lay Eucharistic Minister and receive the offering baskets, tell the Lay Eucharistic Minister the number attending. Begin immediately with the collection of the offering, extending the plate to anyone who has a contribution to make. If someone has a contribution and is too far for you to reach, hand the plate to a person in the pew who can pass it to them. When you have collected from everyone (don’t forget to drop in your own offering!), stand at the back of the nave and wait for the Doxology.
During the Doxology, bring the offering plates to the front of the nave. After the Lay Eucharistic Minister receives them, remain at the front of the nave and position the communion kneeler and rail to bridge the center section. Bow in respect, and then return to your seat. After the Eucharistic Prayer is complete and the priest invites those present to come and partake of the Eucharist, you and your co-usher come to the center of the nave, stand together, and work you way from front to back in the nave, signaling each pew with your presence when it’s time for them to come forward. Your goal is avoid having the priest and the Lay Eucharistic Minister idle but also to avoid a long line of congregants waiting to be served.
You and your co-usher will be the last to be served. After you have been served, linger at the rail and remove the center section of the communion kneeler and rail so that the rail is open again for the recessional.
You’re finished. Thank you for volunteering!