Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | May 20, 2014

Who is Everyone, and What Do They Do?

Communion being celebrated in an Episcopal Church - the gifts of God for the people of God!

The most important thing to remember when attending a communion service (Eucharist) at an Episcopal church is that everyone has a role to play in the service. A liturgy, that type of service done with proscribed forms used since the earliest days of Christianity, is a work of the people. You and all others present at a celebration of the Eucharist make the service what it is. Even the “person in the pew” has an important place just by being there.

Some of the special roles include:

The Priest – Probably the most easily recognized role in a service in an Episcopal church is the priest. He or she is the main celebrant (officiant or presider) at the service. Priests typically read the lesson from one of the four Gospels (if no deacon is available), preach the sermon or homily and preside over the celebration of communion. At services where a bishop is present, or she usually preaches the sermon and presides over communion.

The Deacon – The deacon plays a liturgical role, when present. In the TEC, deacons are ordained clergy, not lay governing board members as they are in some traditions. He/she reads the Gospel lesson, may preach the sermon or homily, leads or introduces the intercessory prayers, sets the altar (table) and assists with distributing communion, as well as giving the dismissal at the end of the service.

Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers –  These are lay people who play a supporting role in leading the service. Lectors read the Old Testament and New testament readings, and might also lead the intercessory prayers. Eucharistic Ministers assist at communion by distributing the wine (and sometimes bread) and may also serve as lectors.

Acolytes – This role might be filled by either children or adults. Acolytes assist the clergy during the service by lighting and putting out candles, carrying the Gospel book, helping to set the altar and other tasks, as needed.

Choir – Choir members help support the congregation musically


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