Enclosed in every January Digest is a “time and talent” sheet or a “commitment of my spiritual gifts” sheet to be filled out and brought back to our office or be brought to the altar on time and talent Sunday – January 28th.
This year I raise up ushers as our examples of using their time and talent to serve.
Back when I was growing up during the “brown hymnal” years, an usher had to be a member of the church, a confirmed male, and know exactly when to pull the rope to ring the bell at three different points during the Lord’s Prayer.
Today, “red hymnal” ushers need to be present or have lined up a replacement. Other than that, anything goes.
Whether it be back in my high school days of being a brown hymnal usher or today’s red hymnal ushers, their functions can be roughly divided up into being a gatekeeper, part of the Welcome Wagon, and money changers. These functions can be broken down into four main categories:
- Welcoming (handing out bulletins, seating strangers in a non-reserved pew, and lighting the altar candles when the acolyte is late or does not show up)
- Offering (collecting it and taking it to the altar)
- Communion (directing people with the choir always going first and the band always last)
- Post Worship Clean-Up (straightening hymnbooks, picking up leftover Cheerios, stray cell phones, etc.)
Depending on the church calendar, weather, attendance, and other circumstances, a Lutheran usher should be prepared to handle the following: finding hearing aids, adjusting the thermostat in response to complaints, pointing out where the nursery is and then doing it again when a parent won’t bring out a screaming baby, putting up the proper hymn numbers on the wall, and what to do with a kid that’s dropped off for Sunday School when there isn’t any.
Being an usher is an honor which is why they get to wear the badges identifying them as God’s servants. The highest honor is that of Usher Coordinator, which was filled by Ed Pabst for decades, then Dave Boxler, and now, Dave Bemer. Dave will call you if you check the “usher box” under “Worship Ministry”.
May we all love and support our Divine ushers ~~ Pastor Doug