St Michael and All Angels Church, Bedford Park

Altar Servers

The Anglo Catholic tradition places the sacrament at the centre of worship. By means of a visually rich liturgy with processions, vestments, candles, music, and incense it seeks to engage the worshipper in the wonder and mystery of God's presence and release them from everyday distractions. servers at massThe altar servers, who are all laymembers of the congregation, assist the clergy as they carry out the rites of the liturgy following the sacred cycle of the Christian year.

The altar servers are involved in the Sunday services of Mass, Evensong and Benediction, and in all the major Festivals of the church calendar. In addition servers may assist at weddings and funerals, particularly where there is a Nuptial or Requiem Mass.

The team is led by the Master of Ceremonies (MC) who links closely with the clergy, Sacristan, Director of Music/Choir, churchwardens, sidespeople, and Parish Office to ensure that all the services run smoothly. The MC administers the servers' rota, allocates the various serving roles of acolyte (candle bearer), crucifer (cross), thurifer (incense), and boat boy and briefs the team with relevant instructions before each Mass.

Each Sunday there is a team of between 6 and 8 servers who are drawn from a group of 21 adults and 8 young people. Servers' duties start approximately half an hour before the service to assist in the preparation of the sanctuary and to take instructions from the MC. Server InstructionsFor complex services such as a Confirmation, Easter, Corpus Christi and Christmas this may involve a preliminary 'run through'. New servers are given induction and training, and provided with vestments. The actions of the serving team have a high profile in the service but paradoxically, as individuals, servers are required to fade into the background so teamwork, anticipation and conformity in dress and conduct are key attributes. Altar servers are privileged to participate at the heart of worship in the sanctuary and to experience the enhanced understanding of the liturgy and spiritual awareness this brings.

If you are interested to learn more about the servers' ministry or think you might like to join the serving team please contact the Master of Ceremonies, Cathie James, via the Parish Office.