Lectors and Acolytes were originally among the minor orders. Today, as lay orders, these positions are filled by gentlemen and young men from the Parish. There are actually several assistive functions performed by laymen at the services; any or all of them may be performed by a single individual, based on his inclination and the availability of other laymen at a given service. (In the absence of a layman, the roles are taken by the clergy.)
- Lectors are responsible for reading the Epistle at Holy Communion, and for reading the Lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer (Choral Mattins and Evensong, when the services are sung by the Choir).
- Acolytes are responsible for attending to the candles at the altar, and for carrying the torches in procession at Solemn Eucharists. At regular Holy Communion services and at the Offices, the Acolyte generally does double duty as the Crucifer, carrying the Cross in procession. St Stephen’s doesn’t have Thurifers (who carry the thurible filled with incense) for a couple of reasons. First, we don’t have a thurible. But don’t offer us one, because second, the chancel isn’t big enough to use incense without asphyxiating the choir.
- Servers assist the Clergy at Holy Communion in preparing the bread and wine during the Offertory, and with the ablutions after Communion.
- Chalicists assist at Holy Communion by administering the Cup (the wine) to communicants.