Tel: (610) 944-8388 • 117 East Arch Street • Fleetwood, PA 19522

Acolyte and Cross Bearer Guidelines

The Church Building:

Narthex – entryway into worship space, lobby, vestibule.

Chancel – area in the worship space where worship is led.

Sanctuary – means “holy place”, space where the altar is located.

Sacristy – place where all the vestments, paraments, sacramental vessels, acolyte gowns, candle lighters/extinguishers and linens are kept.

Altar – place where we celebrate Holy Communion.

Please be ready 15-20 minutes before the service to perform your acolyte duties!



Please try to pick a gown that is not too big or too short!

Acolyte Responsibilities

Lighting the Candles:

Altar candles are lit for each service and extinguished following each service. The candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world.

Acolytes: light the taper/wick on the igniter (lighter/extinguisher) with a lighter. Keep the wick out about an inch.

Go to front of the altar and bow; light the candles simultaneously (WATCH EACH OTHER!)

  • Check to see if the paschal candle (the largest and most decorated in the church) is out in the aisle or next to the pulpit and light it. It is lit from Easter through Pentecost and during baptisms.
  • Light the candles at the altar. When there are 4 candles (2 on each side of the altar), light the front candles first, then the back.
  • Light the candelabras next – see below.
  • Light the candles on the altar last.
  • Go to the front of the altar and bow.
  • Hang up the igniter and take your seat behind the ambo (pulpit).


After “SHARING THE PEACE”, one acolyte gets the offering plates (behind the choir, under the flowers), don’t forget to take the largest plate too (the alms plate) to carry the smaller offering plates. Start with the usher at your far right and pass out the plates.

After the choir anthem is sung, the ushers return to the altar with the offering. Carrying the alms plate, start with the usher that doesn’t have the “collection bag” and collect the plates ending with the usher with the collection bag. Put the plates and offering back on the shelf.


When Pastor has said the offering prayer, move quietly down to the altar rail, pick up a communion cup from the tray and take communion with the ushers and the communion assistants. One acolyte, after communing, will station themselves at the cabinet with the communion trays. Remove the lid, put it in the drawer and as the tray empties, put the tray underneath. When communion is over, put the cover (in the drawer) on the trays.

Extinguishing the Candles:

If there is a “sending song”, the acolytes can extinguish the candles during the song. If there is no song, then extinguish the candles after the dismissal, simultaneously! WATCH EACH OTHER!

Go to the front of the altar together before extinguishing the candles and bow!

  • Extinguish the candles on the altar.
  • Extinguish the candelabras (see below).
  • Extinguish the altar candles. When there are 4 candles, extinguish the back candles first then the front ones.
  • Extinguish the paschal candle. (Easter through Pentecost Sunday.)
  • Move to the front of the altar and bow.
  • Hang up your gowns; don’t forget to zip them up.

*NOTE: When extinguishing the candles, don’t crush the wick with the snuffer! Hold the snuffer over the flame so it goes out from lack of oxygen!


Light the candelabras starting with the top candle and moving down. When extinguishing, start at the bottom and move up. Do so simultaneously – WATCH EACH OTHER! These candles are extinguished before the altar candles.


Cross Bearer – Crucifer; during festivals when the choir processes


15-20 minutes before the service lift the cross from the stand in the chancel area and return to the fellowship area.

Stand at the center doors of the fellowship area, in front of the choir. When the processional hymn begins, walk steadily to the front of the sanctuary. Once you reach the front bow in front of the altar. Then stand and face the congregation until the choir is finished processing. Bow again and place the cross in its stand, facing the congregation. Move to a seat behind the ambo.


When the choir recesses and the hymn is about to begin, go to the altar, bow, and pick up the cross. Stand in the center aisle in front of the altar railing, waiting for the choir. When the choir reaches you, lead the choir out with the cross. When the service has ended you can return the cross to its stand.

Thank you for your ministry!