We place an important emphasis on the role of youth in our church services.
At St James’ Church we have a group of young Altar Servers – both boys and girls. Led by three adults, they assist at all main Holy Communion Services. Their purpose is to ensure the smooth running of the services which includes setting up the church and clearing up afterwards. Whilst the main intent is to help the congregation participate in the service by example, it is also a way of personally developing their spirituality and their Christian faith.
Full training is given to the roles that the individuals have which includes an understanding of the Churches Year, the meaning of Liturgy and the various artefacts used in services. Usually the minimum age is nine. There is no requirement for the individual to have been confirmed although this ministry is a good starting point for that commitment.
Normally two junior servers, together with two adults, are required for a Holy Communion service. This will be an adult to assist the priest, and adult to carry the processional cross and two juniors as acolytes. The acolytes, with the crucifer, lead the procession in and out of services; form a “guard of honour” for the reading of the gospel and leading the procession of the gifts.
On average a junior server is required for a service every 5/6 weeks. It is therefore a commitment that is not onerous.
At St Mary and St John’s Church members of the Junior Pathfinders group serve at Communion services.