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Worship & Music Ministry

Altar Guild
The altar guild is responsible for handling all altar preparations for all church and chapel services. This includes maintenance of silver, brass, and linens. There are five groups, each one responsible for one week of services per month. The primary duties of the altar guild are performed on Saturday morning, following each service on Sunday, the mid-week chapel service, and any other services that might occur during the week. Training is provided, and there is a manual with instructions for additional assistance.  

Baptism
Holy Baptism is a public celebration of full initiation, by water and the Holy Spirit, into Christ's body the Church.  
It is the act of grateful acceptance of the new covenant God has offered to all humankind. We offer this Sacrament to infants and children with the expectation that they will in time make their own public affirmation of faith before the bishop of the diocese. Infant and child baptisms at St. John’s are scheduled through the Children’s Baptism Coordinator; adult baptisms are scheduled through a  member of the clergy.

Acolytes
The Acolyte Ministry at St. John’s provides an opportunity for our young people to be active and involved in the life of the parish by assisting the clergy at all regular and special liturgies throughout the year. Our acolytes are committed to enhancing our corporate worship to the glory of God, and to learning the practical and symbolic roles of the acolyte in our rich liturgical tradition. All youth in the parish are welcomed and encouraged to serve as acolytes, generally beginning in their sixth grade year, and continuing through high school. Acolyte or Crucifer duties are assigned based on the experience of the server and at the discretion of the Acolyte Master.  Group training is held each year and is publicized in advance. Individual   training is also provided as needed, and we are always glad to welcome new acolytes to serve at St. John’s.

Ushers
All adult men and women are encouraged to serve as ushers during worship services. Volunteers are added to a rotating list provided by the Men of St. John’s.  Schedules are emailed to those scheduled to serve.

Lectors/Eucharistic Ministers
Lectors serve the congregation in services by reading the scripture lessons and leading the prayers of the people.  Individuals are licensed by the bishop to administer the chalice at Holy       Communion. They are trained by the clergy, and follow the customs of the parish.

Weddings
The Episcopal Church teaches that  marriage is the life-long union of two people, who make their vows before God and the church, and       receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows. Couples asking to be married at St. John’s are presumed to be seeking God's blessing and the support of this church community. We expect couples to prepare for and fulfill their marriage covenant through active participation and regular worship here, before and after their wedding, and through pre-marital preparation with the clergy. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage in The Book of Common Prayer is the church's liturgy for its baptized members; this ceremony is not offered for nonmembers.  In accordance with the canons of the church, Clergy makes the final decision of who may or may not be married at St. John’s, and assigns an officiating priest for each wedding.  

Guild of the Flowering Cross
This is an opportunity to work with one of God’s most delightful gifts to us –flowers. The guild can be a way for you to offer spiritual service and floral beautification of our church on Sundays, Christmas, Easter, and special occasions.  Women and men of all ages can participate.

Memorial flower donations can be made throughout the year to maintain the potted flower arrangements in the Memorial Garden. These potted arrangements are provided, planted and maintained by our church volunteers. Memorial flower donations are announced weekly in the church bulletin and online at www.stjohnscolumbia.org. These seasonal potted arrangements are permanent fixtures in our garden. Memorials of $25 or more can be made online by visiting our website or by mailing a check to 2827 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC 29205.


Music and Choirs
The music ministry at St. John’s is dedicated to promoting music and singing as an integral component in the life of the church as we worship, proclaim, teach and learn.  There are many opportunities to participate: Learn more with our Music Blog!

Adult Choirs
Chancel Choir
This mixed-voice choir is open to all singers of high school age and older, and all are invited to come and enjoy the choral experience. No music reading or previous vocal training is required to join. The Chancel Choir leads worship weekly and rehearses on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm.

St. John’s Singers (grades 3-8) 
This choir meets on Wednesday afternoons and sings in church once or twice a month and on Christmas Eve. Older, more experienced singers mentor younger ones and help them learn how to be part of an organized choir. More experienced singers are invited to sing solos.

Handbell “change ringing”
The change-ringing group is new this year. A trip to Charleston to experience tower change ringing (“pealing”) is available in the fall. This is a percussion group. No music reading involved. Children and adults are invited to give it a try. People with good math skills seem to do particularly well at this, since it involves keeping up in your head with where your bell plays. We will all be learning together this year! 

Instrumental Musicians/Selah 
Instrumentalists of all ages are encouraged to contact the Director of Music about opportunities to share their talents. All instruments are welcome, and one may play individually or in a group both informally and during worship.  Selah is St. John’s own ensemble of singers and acoustic instrument players (guitar, bass, percussion, etc.). They rehearse at times convenient to the members. New members are always welcome.   

Chamber Singers, Early Music Ensemble 
St. John’s Chamber Singers focus on four-part unaccompanied music, primarily early English choral music (16th - 17th centuries) and early American music. Membership is by audition. The Early Music Ensemble performs primarily early instrumental music (through 1750), and membership is open to all qualified and interested musicians.

Christmas Eve Musicians 
Special rehearsals for Christmas Eve services begin in December, and both children and adults who do not participate regularly in music groups are invited to join in the preparation of simple but moving music for Christmas Eve. In order to provide the widest possible opportunity for boys and girls to play an important role on Christmas Eve, regular choir participants are joined by others whose family schedules do not permit their attendance at regular Wednesday night activities. The schedule of rehearsals is announced in November.

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