Host Family Guidelines – Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church
1. Arrive at least 15 minutes early.
2. Check the doors: Make sure both the north and the south doors are unlocked. If necessary, get one of the security people to unlock.
3. Check in with the Verger. (The Verger usually wears a long blue robe; arrives first; and makes sure all the little details are taken care of.)
4. First Reading: Traditionally, someone from the Host family reads the First Lesson. If you prefer not to do so, that is fine; but it is your responsibility to find someone else to do it. We try to send out the readings via email ahead of time, but this doesn’t always happen. If you recruit someone else to do the reading, do so early to allow time for the reader to study the passage. Remember to read slowly and with a big voice so those in the back of the room can hear. As always, if you have questions or you’re not sure what to do, ask the Verger or the priest before church. They will be happy to guide you.
5. Acolytes: There will be an acolyte scheduled to serve, but sometimes the Host Family will need to help recruit a replacement. Ask the verger and the priest for help if you don’t know whom to ask. There is no reason a child cannot pull double duty. That is; serve as both acolyte and as the reader.
6. Greet all who come in the door. Introduce yourselves; provide a service booklet to all who wish to have one; and offer the children’s materials to the younger ones. (Crayons, and coloring leaflets)
7. Continue watching for late arrivals after the service begins. Quietly provide them with materials as needed.
8. Count those in attendance, including musicians, priests, acolytes, vergers, and yourselves, of course. This can be a challenge as the children tend to move around quite a bit. Sometimes it’s easiest to do during the homily when most of the youngsters are seated up front on the floor. Be sure to count everyone, including infants. During the Passing of the Peace, inform the verger of your count. Watch for late arrivals and report to the Verger a revised count if someone comes in after the Communion service begins. (Yes, it does happen.)
9. Arrange for someone to do the collection. The children LOVE doing this. If your children are unable or unwilling, you should have no problem recruiting volunteers. Two can handle the job; but if four want to do it, that will work too. Just put one child on each end and two on the center aisle. Be prepared to supervise, as some will not know exactly what to do.
Start at the front right after the priest says, “Walk in love as Christ……” Once the collection plates have made their way to the back of the church, have the children stand with the plates in hand at the back of the center aisle. When the priest has finished setting the table and the pianist begins the Offertory music, have the children march briskly to the altar, offer the plates up to the priest, and return to their seats. No need to have them bow.