What is an acolyte?
An acolyte is the person responsible for the lighting and extinguishing of the candles on the communion table. The light, or fire, represents the light of Christ. Here at First Presbyterian Church, Hastings, 4th through 8th graders serve as acolytes.
Why do we have acolytes?
The word acolyte is from an ancient Greek word that means attendant, or “follower”. Light and fire remind us that God is here with us. When you bring the light (fire) into the sanctuary where people are gathering to worship, and when you light the candles, you are reminding the people that God is with us at home, at school, and at work as well as in the worship service. When you light the torch again, before extinguishing the candles, and then walk out with your torch lit, you remind the people that when we scatter out into the world, God will be there with us. Lit candles also remind us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
First Presbyterian Church Acolyte Scheduling Information
- All of the young people in grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are invited to serve as acolytes. For safety reasons, each youth must complete training YEARLY to be eligible to serve. This training is generally held at the beginning of each fall semester.
- A rotating schedule of 4th-8th graders is created and distributed by the Director of Education for Children & Youth.
- Two acolytes will serve at the 10:30am worship service each Sunday.
- If you cannot serve as an acolyte on your assigned date, please switch with another 4th through 8th grader. Please make changes at least a week in advance. Report any changes to the Director of Education for Children & Youth so that the bulletin will be printed correctly.
First Presbyterian Church Acolyte Instructions
- Go to the closet on the south side of the Narthex where the robes are hanging and put on a robe.
- Get a candle lighter from the wooden holder sitting just outside the closet. Check to be sure liquid wax and wick are ok.
- Wait in the Narthex for worship to begin.
- When it is time, an usher will help light the candle lighter.
- When the congregation begins the first verse of the first hymn, begin walking down the center aisle side by side with your partner in an unhurried manner.
- Once the candle is lit (do not extinguish the flame on the candle lighter yet), walk out of the sanctuary side by side with your partner. When you are in the Narthex, extinguish the flame on the candle lighter by blowing on it and place the candle lighter in the wooden holder.
- Return to the sanctuary and sit in the second pew with your partner or with your family.
- Participate in worship. Just before the final hymn, go to the Narthex and get your candle lighter. Once the hymn starts, walk down the center aisle side by side with your partner. Light the candle lighter. Extinguish the candle with the bell snuffer on the candle lighter.
- Walk out of the sanctuary side by side with your partner. When you are in the Narthex, extinguish the flame on the candle lighter by blowing on it.
- Hang up your robe and place candle lighter in the wooden holder.