Ushers & Greeters
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Usher and Greeter Customary
As of September 8, 2018
Ushers are exactly what the name implies. They are the people who hand out the bulletins in the back of the church, help people find a seat if it is crowded, bring the oblations and alms forward before communion, and help direct traffic during communion. They are the individuals who can always tell you where to find the restroom, the nursery, or even a cup of coffee. If you need anything, find an usher. This means that ushering is the most accessible of the lay ministries as you are always paired with more experienced people.
Ushers serve at all worship services on Sunday and special occasions. Ushers are assigned to a regular Sunday service. No experience is necessary and training will be provided.
Greeters greet people when they come to the church. These are the people who are in the back on Sunday mornings ready to answer questions and make sure that newcomers are comfortable and welcomed when they come to St. Andrew’s. Just like ushers, these are the people to ask if you have any questions. Even more than that, they can introduce you to other parishioners and make sure you can find all of the information you might need.
The ushers and greeters should arrive in the sanctuary by 9:30 A.M. in preparation for the 10:00 A.M. service. If the bulletins are not already placed in the narthex, check for them in the Chalstrom House. Double-check the area and tidy up any obvious trash or messiness. Elements and Offertory plates should be on table behind center left pew; if not see look for an altar guild member or a clergyperson. The Element Bearers should be the Vestry Person on Duty and the Greeter. Ideally, check with them and be sure Lectors are present.
Greeter(s) should stand outside of church and welcome people, ideally by name, introducing visitors to the Ushers. (Both Greeters and Ushers should review the online picture Directory to learn/remember names.) Any visitor with very young children should be directed/walked to the Nursery* by an Usher. The Greeter should step in for the Usher while this happens. Explain to visitors with children that their children could also go to the Children’s Liturgy^ during the service or use the coloring books in bags at the back. Try to find out if a visitor has ever been to an episcopal service. Even with a helpful bulletin, it can be easy to get lost. If possible, walk them to a seasoned parishioner you know would be willing to assist them with the service.
* The Nursery takes ages 6 months to 4 years
^ Children’s Liturgy is appropriate for 5 year olds through 5th grade and children are never required to leave their parents to go to the nursery or children’s liturgy.
Once the service begins, one usher or the greeter should stay near the rear of the church to orient any latecomers to the service.
Following the Peace, wait for Announcements. As Announcements wind down, both Ushers and Element Bearers should get up and walk to back of church. As Announcements end, Bearers should pick up Elements, and Ushers the plates. Next wait for the priest to say the Offertory Sentence, “Walk in love...” THEN JUST AFTER the priest places the chalice on the altar, Element Bearers should bring Elements forward. (At beginning of Offertory anthem.) They should give them to the priest treating the altar table with reverence ideally speaking to each other about bowing preference.
Ushers should IMMEDIATELY follow the Element Bearers but wait at the front of the center aisles while the Elements are being presented. THEN after the presentation they begin collecting donations. The Element Bearers should go to the outside pews and stand aligned with the Ushers to pass the plates to the outside pew rows. After completion, Bearers give Ushers their plates and the Ushers bring them forward following both the end of the Offertory hymn and the “Please stand" command to the congregation. They then give plates, without bowing, to the Acolyte or EM, or if neither present, to the priest. Then Ushers should bow (ideally, synced) and sit down.
In regard to when parishioners should come up for communion, the Book of Common Prayer states on page 364, “The ministers receive the Sacrament in both kinds, and then immediately deliver it to the people.” With this in mind at St. Andrew’s, the Ushers should begin ushering people forward to the altar rails as soon as the choir passses the front pew. On a large Sunday, the Element Bearers can help with outside pews. Ushers are the last to receive communion. If someone wants communion but cannot come forward, an usher should discreetly notify the priest when he or she comes to the altar rail. They will then walk with the priest and Eucharistic Ministry to anyone unable to come up for communion.
Following the service, ushers should collect leftover bulletins and any trash in the pews. If able, reach out to visitors and invite them to the coffee reception.