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Acolytes have a wonderful tradition of serving in worship, which is believed to have its roots in ancient Israel, as described in the Hebrew Scriptures account of Samuel and Eli (1 Samuel). The earliest record of acolytes in Christian worship dates back to the 3rd century A.D. where they represented one of the four minor orders of clergy, namely taper-bearers that led ritual processionals and liturgical entrances.

The Roles of Acolytes

The roles and guidelines for acolytes have changed over the years. Once denied access to the sanctuary and altar, acolytes now freely enter in solemn dignity and reverence, bearing the light and the crucifer in various processions, lighting and extinguishing the altar candles, and assisting the clergy with the sacraments of bread and wine. Historically, this form of service was open only to young boys who were being prepared for the priesthood.  Since the 1980s, The Episcopal Church has broadened this view by inviting young girls’ participation and redefining the acolyte role in worship as a ministry of the church.

A Prayer for Acolytes

O God, our gracious Father:
Bless the Servers of your church that they may so serve before your earthly altar in
reverence and holiness, that they may attain, with all your saints and angels,
the joy of serving you and worshipping you before your Heavenly Altar, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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At Saint Thomas, we encourage boys and girls ages 8 to 18 to participate in worship as acolytes. This is a wonderful way to develop leadership skills and to cultivate in our children an appreciation of the liturgical rites and practices of the faith community.

All those interested in participating need to attend an initial orientation.  Preparatory training and practice is provided to all new acolytes before introducing them into a worship setting.

Beyond the age of 18, acolytes wishing to continue serving in worship are encouraged to become Eucharistic Ministers.

For Training information, Contact Rev. Michael Ridgway

For Scheduling, Contact Sue Beckham, Family Ministry Director


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