Altar ministers show us that how we worship God as a Church expresses both who we understand ourselves to be and what we are called to do. They show us how to be "doers" of the word (James 1:22) in service to God and others. Youth and adult altar ministers participate in Sunday worship services, memorial services, evensongs, weddings and special services, as well as holy days such as Easter and Christmas. They are responsible for carrying important symbols of the Church, such as the cross, the Gospel book, and the torches (the light of Christ) as well as assisting priests in administering the sacraments of Holy Communion, the consecrated bread and wine. Eucharistic Visitors take the sacraments to those who are ill, infirm, or in nursing homes or otherwise unable to attend the Eucharistic service.
Lectors and intercessors are visible signs of our work together as a church in proclaiming the good news of God to the world. During worship services, adult and youth lectors take the lead in proclaiming the readings from Holy Scripture and leading the congregation in the Prayers of the People.
Vergers have a special role in guiding the other altar ministers, lectors, and intercessors. They also assist with the upkeep of the church buildings, sacred furnishings, liturgical items, and they help to prepare for liturgies before the services begin. They carry a special staff, or verge, as a sign of their office.
Note: We used to make a distinction between acolytes, or youth altar ministers, and adult altar ministers. They had different roles. Our focus has shifted to unifying their work so that each can take on any of the important liturgical duties without regard to age.