Preparing hymn books and service booklets
When you arrive in church, the first person you are likely to meet is
a sidesperson. A sidesperson used to be called a 'sidesman'. The name
is a corruption of the term 'synod's man', a title referring to prominent
members of the congregation who represented the parish to the Diocesan
Synod. A more meaningful term is welcomer.
There are three people on duty as welcomers at Sunday’s 09.30
service. They arrive early enough to make sure everything the congregation
will need is ready for them - hymn numbers on the boards, service and
hymn books to hand, magazines and notices on display.
During the service, particularly if there is
a baptismal party, sidespersons may need to guide visitors through communion.
They also take the offertory and carry the bread and wine up to the
altar, sometimes encouraging the children to help. They may help latecomers
or parents with young children. After the service, they put away the
books and tidy up.
Making sure Welcome cards are on the pews
Handing out books and pew sheets as people
arrive gives sidespersons the opportunity to welcome visitors or newcomers
and invite them to stay for coffee after the service. They provide all
the help they need to make them feel at home in our church.
The duties are not onerous but you do need to arrive early, stay focused
and be alert to the needs of latecomers and visitors. You can be on
duty once a month or once a year but your appointment, which has to
be approved by the vicar and P.C.C. at the Annual
Parochial Church Meeting, is for a year.
At the All-age Service on the first Sunday of the month when the youth
groups take a turn on duty, there is only one sidesperson who should
be needed only in an advisory capacity. The presence of the young people,
the Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Sunday School has added
greatly to the running of the service.