Expectations and Conduct of Acolyte Guild Members

Private Devotion and Acts of Reverence

Service in the liturgy involves worshiping while simultaneously performing the duties of your assigned role. While you are serving, you may not be able to participate in the same private devotions and acts of reverence that you would otherwise from the pew. As lay servers and leaders in worship, we must defer our private devotional practices to provide a common worship experience for the whole of St. Peter’s Church.

Appropriate Dress

In order to eliminate distractions that may detract from worship, servers should strive for anonymity in both appearance and conduct. Servers are expected to wear white shirts, black shoes, and no visible jewelry other than wedding rings or watches. Pectoral crosses are permitted. The parish will provide cassock and surplice, however, servers are invited to purchase their own vestments for fit and comfort as long as they conform to established standards. The Acolyte Warden can advise servers on purchasing personal vestments.

Rehearsals and Training

Serving in the liturgy involves thorough knowledge of the liturgical customary, attention to detail, as well as teamwork and coordination. In order to ensure that all who serve understand the requirements of their roles, a general orientation session and rehearsal will be held on the first Sunday of each month immediately following the conclusion of the 10:15 AM service. Additional rehearsals will be called for special services, such as Christmas and Holy Week. Attendance at rehearsals is required for all servers. Those who do not attend rehearsals or who do not make arrangements for one-on-one training with the Acolyte Warden may not be included in the rotation for future services.

Attendance and Scheduling

Any server who is unable to honor his or her assigned date(s) must notify the Acolyte Warden (or his or her designee) at the earliest opportunity. Where absences or scheduling conflicts are known in advance, It is the responsibility of each server to make arrangements for a substitute server and to notify the Acolyte Warden of that substitute. More than three absences without providing proper notification or arranging for a substitute may result in probation, being excluded from rotation for future services, or dismissal.

Leaves of Absence and Resignations

Servers may take make arrangements to take a leave of absence for a period of one year or less, and may resume service after consultation with the Acolyte Warden. Requests for a leave of absence should be made in writing to the Acolyte Warden.

Servers are volunteers and may resign their commissions at any time for any reason. Formal resignations should be submitted in writing to the Acolyte Warden.


Successful and proper administration of the liturgy requires a dependable core of servers who work together to support the clergy and create a positive worship experience for the people of St. Peter’s Church. As such, any server who cannot meet the demands of the role or who does not adhere to the conduct outlined in this customary may be asked to resign his or her commission. Dismissals are not taken lightly and will be determined in consultation with the Rector.

Training and Advancement

Those who feel called to this ministry should make themselves known to the Acolyte Warden, who will arrange a time to meet with the candidate to discuss the Guild and service therein.

Guild members fulfill the following roles, which are arranged in order of seniority and degree of difficulty, from most junior to most senior:

  1. Torchbearer

  2. Crucifer

  3. Acolyte

  4. Thurifer

  5. Verger

  6. Minister of Ceremonies

  7. Subdeacon (may be filled by ordained clergy when possible)

Servers enter the Guild at a level appropriate to their experience. Typically, new members enter the Guild as torchbearers; however prior experience serving in similar roles in other parishes will be considered by the Acolyte Warden when making a decision about the appropriate level for a given server. Members are typically promoted upon demonstrating mastery of their current level. More information on promotion is outlined below.


Training for all members of the Guild will be held on the first Sunday of each month, immediately following the conclusion of the 10:15 AM service. This training serves as both an orientation for newly accepted members as well as a refresher for all members. It is appropriate for those who are interested in serving to attend this training session to learn more about this ministry.

In addition the monthly group training sessions, newly accepted individuals will be assigned a mentor, who is a senior member of the Guild appointed by Acolyte Warden. The mentor is responsible for individual, one-on-one instruction of the new member and serves as a guide and resource during a three-month probationary period for the new member.

After the probationary period has ended, the new member’s progress is evaluated by the Acolyte Warden and he or she is either accepted as a full member of the Guild or specific training objectives are set to be accomplished over an additional three-month probationary period.


Promotion within the Guild is based largely on successful service and demonstrated mastery of the level the member currently holds. In assessing readiness for promotion, the Acolyte Warden considers:

  • Demonstrated competence in the execution of assigned duties

  • Punctuality

  • Decorum

  • Attention to detail

  • Demonstrated ability to work as a member of the team

  • Willingness to follow directions given by mentor and/or minister of ceremonies

  • Ability to accept and act upon suggestions to improve serving skills

The review process is typically conducted in the Spring and promotions are recognized before the congregation as part of a 10:15 AM service.