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What are Vergers & Acolytes, and can I be one?

Have you ever heard of them? You see these important volunteers every Sunday that you attend a service! Vergers & Acolytes are all lay-people who serve to enhance worship for all who attend!

What are Acolytes & Vergers, and what do they do?

Vergers are members of the church who, working under the direction of the rector, assist with the organization and operation of worship services. In our Parish, vergers help train and schedule acolytes for all the roles needed each service, and also make sure that those persons are in place and have what they need before and during services. To be a verger, one must be confirmed.

Acolytes is a general term for all parishoners that serve during the service. There are several roles within the service each Sunday. These roles at Emmanuel are:

  • Ushers - these persons greet parishoners & guests on their way in, and hand out bulletins before the service. During the service, they count the congregation, take up the offertory, present the bread and wine, and assist with ushering for the Eucharist. Any adult persons may serve as ushers; they are scheduled in teams of 2. Couples or friends can request to serve together.

  • Lectors - also known as "reader," the lector is responsible for reading the Old Testament, Psalm, and Epistle in each Sunday's liturgy at the lecturn.

  • Cantor - the person who leads the hymns from the mic at the lecturn. Their purpose is to sing out the melody, so that parishoners feel comfortable singing hymns that may be less familiar.

  • Torch Bearers - there are two torch bearers serving at a time, each holding an oil candle atop a wooden staff and processing with the cross. (often middle/high schoolers, but can be anyone!)

  • Crucifer - this person carries the cross, processing with the rest of the vergers & acolytes.

  • Servers / Chalicifers - these acolytes have a very special job, to serve the wine during the Eucharist. In order to serve as a Chalicifer, a person must be confirmed and licensed to serve the wine by the Diocese.

  • Thurifer & Boat - On special occassions when incense is being used in a service, the Thurifer carries & swings the incense holder. Sometimes, they have an assistant (usually a younger child) called a boat.

How can I become an Acolyte or Verger?

If you’re interested in serving as an Acolyte or Verger, or would like to know more about these opportunities, reach out to Verger John Stobbe by email at or text/call him at 405-919-9241.

What is the commitment like?

Most acolytes serve once or twice per month, though this may vary slightly depending on the season and availability of other acolytes. It is flexible, and you will know well in advance what Sunday you are scheduled to serve.

Will I be trained?

Thorough training is provided to all persons who are interested in serving as an acolyte or verger, usually on a Wednesday night during class time, but this is also flexible.



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