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Thornbury Parish


Young Servers at St Mary’s

What do servers do and why?

Servers lead the procession in church at the beginning of the service. One carries the big cross (the ‘Crucifer’), and two carry candles (the ‘Acolytes’). The choir follow, then the clergy (the Vicar and maybe a deacon).

Why do we do this? - it tells everyone that the service is starting.

It sets the atmosphere for worship: people stop talking and stand up.

Servers lead the gospel procession, when we take the gospel book to the middle of the church to read the gospel passage.

The Acolytes (with candles) stand each side of the gospel book and the Crucifer holds the book (not the cross this time!)

Why do we do this? - it draws attention to the gospel reading because it is about Jesus and he is the centre of our faith. The candles used to help light the book when there was no electric light, but they also remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World.

During the service the servers might receive the collection and give it to the priest at the altar. They might also pass the communion cups and other things across from the little table (‘credence table’) as the altar is prepared for Holy Communion.

Why do we do this? The servers assist the priest who can’t be in two places at once!

Servers lead the procession out at the end of the service, again with the cross in front then the candles. The choir follow.

Why do we do this?

It shows that the service is ending. After the final procession has finished it is coffee time!

Why do servers wear special robes?

All those who wear special robes in the service have a particular job to do - the choir, the priest, the deacon, and the servers. It shows what you doing, and wearing it reminds you that everyone can see you and you have special duties to do.

Why do we have young servers, not just adults?

It is very important to have young servers to show that children are as important in church as the adults! The young servers represent all the children present. Children and young people can be just as close to God as adults. Having young servers shows that we value our young people, and you do not have to grow up before you matter.

Should young servers receive Holy Communion? If you enjoy being a server but have not been prepared for first communion, I would encourage you to join the next group. It will help you understand a lot better what is going on in the service and to take part even more fully.

Rev’d Jan