I Serve at God's Altar

The Ministry of Acolytes

Roger A. Speer Jr., Sharon Ely Pearson

Nov/2018, 128 Pages, Paperback, 8.5 x 11

ISBN-13: 9781640651234

An acolyte resource for the 21st-century Episcopal Church

Despite the changing landscape of the Episcopal Church, one ministry that continues but gets little attention is that of acolytes. Whether second graders or adults, the mentoring and training of acolytes is a formational experience. I Serve at God’s Altar offers a simplified theology of how God is met in worship and how it affects the lives of those most engaged in it, a visual exploration of the Episcopal liturgy and its history through extensive illustrations, how acolytes fit into the work of the church in worship, and how worship affects the acolyte’s discernment for ministry and Rule of Life.

Illustrations include a visual exploration of church artifacts (crosses, candles, Eucharistic vessels, etc.), holds, and processes to set a standard of expectation and expertise in service according to Episcopal practice and tradition. There is a section of reproducible handouts for organizing an acolyte ministry at every size church, including scheduling, communications, installation liturgies, recruitment plans, and training outlines.

Roger A. Speer Jr., is a graphic designer and educator who has served the Episcopal Church as professional youth minister for 20 years. Involved in the ministry of acolytes since childhood, he has facilitated this ministry at all levels: diocesan and General Convention, international Anglican worship, and acolyte training in Episcopal schools and churches of all sizes, spending a lifetime trying to figure out how best to train and equip acolytes. He is director of student ministry at Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta, Georgia.

Sharon Ely Pearson a retired Christian educator, editor, and author with 35-plus years of experience in Christian formation on the local, judicatory, and church-wide level. Known for her knowledge of published curricula across the church, she has written or edited numerous books. She is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and a lifelong Episcopalian. She lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

"I Serve at God's Altar encompasses all the necessary tools needed to educate, empower, and train acolytes. Everything you need is here: church history, liturgical theology, guided retreats and workshops, visual graphics, an in-depth liturgical glossary, and much more. This book takes seriously the role and privilege of serving at God's altar, without forgetting that our service is meant to be a joyous and life-giving spiritual practice. Roger and Sharon never lose sight that all the teaching, training, and ritual is intended to praise, worship, and glorify God."––The Rev. Carlos de la Torre, Southwest Region Missionary, Episcopal Church in Connecticut

"This book is overdue. We have had manuals and customaries over the years that tell an acolyte how to do their ministry. This book not only does that with current relevant language but also explains the why."––Claude "Duke" DuTeil, training advisor for the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church and retired Head Verger, Washington National Cathedral

"I Serve at God's Altar is a clear and informative guide for those who work with acolytes, helping them prepare for and be present in the service. This is a great gift for acolytes and anyone working with young people who are serving at God's altar."––Duana Cisney, acolyte mentor and author of Cross Words: A Devotional for Youth

"Equal parts inspiration and information, this book is an essential foundational resource for anyone who seeks to encourage the ministry of the acolyte. For acolytes––youth and adult––who wish to grow in their ministry, this book will help all to embody their fullest potential."––Lisa Brown, Director of Digital Ministry for Membership Vision

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