Sidespersons at work

A welcomer used to called a sidesperson and prior to that a 'sidesman'. The name is a corruption of the term 'synod's man', a title referring to members of the congregation who represented the parish to the Diocesan Synod. A more meaningful term is 'welcomer'. The Welcome Team provides a welcome to worshippers at the 9.30am services and also special services, especially during the Christmas period and Holy Week. As the Together at Eleven service has consolidated, several of the existing team have continued to act as welcomers for the 11am service whilst members of its growing congregation have expressed a willingness to help provide this role when their circumstances allow. Welcomers offer a friendly face and helpful information to newcomers and established parishioners alike. When you arrive in church, the first person you are likely to meet is a welcomer.

There are three people on duty as welcomers at Sunday’s 9.30am service. They arrive early enough to make sure everything the congregation will need is ready for them - hymn numbers on the boards, service booklets, hymn books and pew sheets to hand, magazines and notices on display.

Handing out books and pew sheets as people arrive gives welcomers the opportunity to welcome visitors or newcomers and invite them to stay for refreshments after the service. They provide all the help visitors need to make them feel at home in our church.

During the service, particularly if there is a baptismal party, welcomers may need to guide visitors through communion. They also carry the offertory, bread and wine up to the altar, sometimes encouraging children to help. They may help latecomers or parents with young children. After the service, they put away the books and tidy up.

Recently there have been some small but important changes with new collection plates being introduced to permit ‘contactless’ giving and the fire safety equipment and instructions have been enhanced. Welcomers make an important contribution to safety during services.

The duties are not onerous but welcomers do need to arrive early, stay focused and be alert to the needs of latecomers and visitors. They can be on duty once a month or once a year but their appointment, which has to be approved by the vicar and PCC at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, is for a year.

Find out more

Annual Parochial Church Meeting Reports (these documents contain the annual reports of the various church teams or groups associated with St James's Church. Scroll down the document of the year you are interested in to find the report you want) 


Janet Taylor on 020 8979 0046

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