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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Before Sunday Services

By Eleanor Simons and Cheryl Arnold It’s Sunday and you park your car and walk into our lovely historic church. You get your bulletin, say good morning to our ushers, sit down in your pew, and prepare for worship. What takes place ahead of time involves many people in a coordinated effort to prepare for the worship services. Most of us never think about what takes place before Sunday services. The church is opened, lights, sound board and audio turned on. The priests and deacons vest. Acolytes put on their robes and light the candles on the altar. The Bulletin you are holding in your hand is prepared by Catie early in the week. She also puts the bulletins on the website and in the church for the ushers to hand out. She sets up the YouTube links for each service and posts them on the church Facebook pages. Earlier in the week Fr. Frans prepares for his sermon by first praying for the listeners who will hear the sermon. He reads the lectionary and gives it some thought. He then studies what others have said or written on the readings for the week. He thinks about a story to begin with and a story to end his sermon. Then he begins to write the text. Flower Guild Members pick up the flowers, take them to the church, arrange them, and put them on the altar. Altar Guild Members check supplies and set the altar. They are responsible for washing and ironing the altar linens. Communion wafers are counted out and instilled with a drop of wine. The music you will hear is selected by Adam to go with lectionary readings. Vocalists and Sharon rehearse on Wednesday evening. Instrumentalists will rehearse individually or together as needed during the week or on a weekend, and the entire music team rehearses on Sunday morning between services. Shane uses a music app to create a digital setlist with all of the music for a Sunday service and Airdrops it to the music team during rehearsal. Microphone batteries are changed and sound system is adjusted as needed. Ushers, readers, organist, acolytes and vestry person of the day are all scheduled. Readings are printed and put on the lectern. Prayers of the People are printed for the reader. Nursery workers are scheduled and supplies checked. Volunteers for Wonder Kids are scheduled, snacks purchased, crafts planned and craft supplies purchased. The Verger’s job is to oversee that everything is ready for the worship service so the priest can concentrate on worship. Visitor packets are assembled and replenished as needed and devotional books like Forward Day by Day are replenished monthly. There are probably some jobs I have forgotten or don’t know about. It takes a village (in our case a community) to prepare for worship. We all benefit and are blessed by it.

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