Ushers and Greeters Fourth in a series of ministries that can help you live God’s love BY DORRIE GRAUL
First Presbyterian Church members are living God’s love in all kinds of ways. One of them is Rick Ensley, longtime leader in our youth ministry. Here is his story, in his own words.
As a family we started coming to First Presbyterian Church in 1982, after returning home from my enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. After a few years, I knew that I wanted to get involved with the ministries here at church, but what?
I started with the Confirmation Class because I have always had a passion for working with young people. Tis also would allow me to hear what the youth have to say about their faith. Some 25-plus years later, I still enjoy hearing what those in the confirmation class are wrestling with when it comes to the questions regarding faith.
It did not take a long for my wife, Karen, and me to realize that we wanted to live up to the vows that we promise every time a child is baptized; we have a role in caring for and nurturing that child and providing opportunities to explore and grow in their faith. Karen was involved with the children’s ministry (Youth Club) and I with the youth.
I have been ordained as an elder and served six years on Session, I served on two Pastor Nominating Committees, Personnel Team, and Nominating Team. I have also enjoyed being a part of the mission team that went to Honduras to build a new well so the village could have clean and safe drinking water.
Other things I have done are Safety Committee, small group study, Saturday morning men’s group, the Tesbyterians,
“TRAIN CHILDREN IN THE RIGHT WAY, AND WHEN OLD, THEY WILL NOT STRAY.” —PROVERBS 22:6
many years in the dishroom for Youth Club, some painting around the church, and ushering. I am currently working with the National/International Mission Team.
My work with the youth always will be near and dear to my heart. Over the years, there have been many retreats, choir tours, work camps, and mission mornings. It has been extremely rewarding to have been with the youth through these events. I don’t think I ever came home from these types of events without having learned something about the youth and myself.
Tere are so many stories that come to mind from working with youth. But the ones that I can’t get out of my mind are those when kids will give up their time to serve those who have nothing or very little, and sometimes it is the time spent over a lunch just talking. It is fun to teach the kids a skill when doing work at a house and watching the determination of finishing the project, knowing that they are leaving the home better than when they first arrived. It’s watching the youth choir respond to the smiles, toe-tapping and singing along when giving concerts to elderly folks, and then spending some time and wishing them a good day. Tese are the things that keep me coming back for more.
Hopefully when you came to church this past Sunday, you were greeted many times and felt welcomed as part of the family of Christ. At least one of these greetings should have been intentional by an usher at the traditional service or a greeter at one of the alternative services. Both of these volunteer callings are part of our connections team and strive to encourage our sense of family.
While I feel that the welcoming aspect is the most important portion of this ministry, there are practical considerations as well. Greeters at the alternative services count attendance and ensure that connection cards and offerings get to the office. Ushers collect the offering, provide an attendance count, and collect friendship register sheets at the conclusion of the service. Tese positions are also an excellent resource for answers and directions. Ushers and greeters don’t necessarily have all the answers, but they are willing to help with the discovery.
Te Usher Guild was formed in the mid-1990s as a ministry of the Deacons. (Te usher system prior to this can best be described as chaotic and burdensome for the Deacons.) When I completed my term on the board in 1999, I volunteered to continue coordinating the Usher Guild so that the Deacons could focus on other caring ministries.
A schedule is prepared annually. When an usher has a scheduling conflict, all they need to do is let their captain know. Captains work with each other and the coordinator to cover each other as well. Te Greeter Team began with the advent of alternative services. When requested to serve a specific service, a greeter simply accepts or declines based on their availability, and the coordinator schedules accordingly.
Being an usher or a greeter does not require a big time commitment and offers many benefits. With the security blanket of a handful of bulletins, I can extend the hand of fellowship to someone I do not know. (I am very shy at my core, and this has been a safe way to get to know many people over the years.) Te Usher Guild has set teams that serve approximately six times per year.
Over time you get to know the other members of your team as well as the people to whom you hand a bulletin or pass an offering plate. Tere are eight ushers and an usher captain at a typical 10:30 a.m. service in the sanctuary. Te alternative service greeters are on a more fluid schedule, with two people generally serving at each service. When serving, you start 20 to 30 minutes prior to the service and sometimes stay a few minutes at its conclusion.
I feel very strongly that no one should come to church and not feel welcomed. New members of both teams are always needed. Te commitment is small and the rewards are great!
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Dorrie Graul at 610-349-8473 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Smiling faces are always appreciated on usher and greeter teams. I hope to hear from many of you soon!
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