Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
This Sunday following the 10:30 service we will hold "Acolyte Training" for old timers, newbies, and anyone who would like to volunteer for this very special and important ministry. By combining everyone under the term "Acolyte" we are not being accurate at all for we are referring to everyone who serves at God's Altar: Torch Bearers, Crucifers, Servers, etc. All of these ministries and the people who serve are referred to as Acolytes.
The term Acolyte is rich in tradition and date from the 3rd Century in a letter from Pope Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch in the year 252 and are also mentioned in Cyprian's writings as well. In the Early Church Acolytes were set aside as a "Minor Order." Those in the Minor Orders often ascended to the higher orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon.
The word acolyte is derived from the Greek word acolytos, meaning companion, attendant, or helper. The Acolyte ministry can be traced back to the Old Testament where the prophet Samuel is seen assisting Eli, the Levite priest, and Elisha is seen assisting Elijah, the prophet.
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. 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. Eventually lay servers or sacristans performed duties earlier associated with acolytes, and the order of acolyte was normally conferred upon a candidate for priesthood in the course of his training. Today, the Minor Orders are not recognized in The Episcopal Church but are set aside as Lay Ministers.
So you might be asking, what does this have to do with me? Glad you asked. Know that the ministries of the Acolyte have a rich and important tradition and are one of the many ways you can serve our Lord, the Church, and our Church family here at All Saints. This ministry is open to children and youth as well as adults. Children in the Second grade are usually ready to serve and sometimes younger children are ready at an earlier age. Please talk with Fr. Gary about younger children who desire to serve. Adults are encouraged to join us in this ministry.
We hope to see many new faces this Sunday to see what this Acolyte thing is all about, to be trained, and to serve our Lord and Church in this very special ministry.
See ya Sunday!
Blessings & Peace
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