Acolyte. Not just a name, but a duty. Not just a duty, but a part of who I am. As one who assists the clergy during the service, acolyting is one of my favorite roles and contributions to Calvary.
My experience as an acolyte started when I was in sixth grade. Growing up, I watched my big sister Maggie carry the “big” cross down the aisle and lead her team, and decided that one day I wanted to do that, too.
“Mr. Raymond” Spence took me through training and taught me everything I know about acolyting. I was a little nervous the first few times it was my team’s Sunday to acolyte, but I soon came to realize that being an acolyte was much more than carrying a flag or lighting the candles. It was an opportunity to be a part of the service and lead others to the table of Christ. I looked forward to walking into the Acolyte Room and putting on my white robe and cross. I felt like I had been given an important responsibility, and I was definitely a big kid now.
Six years later, I still feel that way. I feel included and involved and “lucky,” as former priest-in-charge, the Rev. Buddy Stallings would have said, to be a part of a ministry that allows me to give back to the church that has given so much to me.
Whenever someone asks me what I “do” at my church, my first answer is always “acolyting.” The connections I have made with the clergy make every Sunday up at the altar full of smiles. And with our acolyte master “Mrs. Catie” Thacker and all of our amazing adult mentors, we work together as a team to lead the congregation during every service. I especially enjoy inviting people up for Communion one row after another, saying hello to all the people I know, and receiving a warm smile from someone new each time, too.
My time as an acolyte has given me a chance to both lead and serve. And for one more year—my senior year in high school, with my fellow acolyte team captains Alex, Jordan, Lil, and Mack—acolyting at Calvary will be a part of who I am.