The word “acolyte” means servant or assistant. Acolytes are young people who assist in the worship service. The ministry of acolytes has been a valued ministry for children and young people throughout the history of the Episcopal Church (although it was only opened to girls in most places around the 1970s). The acolytes serve closely with the clergy to lead the parish worship services.
At St. John’s children are eligible to begin serving in the acolyte corps during their third grade year. They serve first as “torch bearers,” carrying the processional candles during the service. As they grow older (and taller) they take on the roles of crucifer, carrying the processional cross, and as servers, assisting at the altar.