By Maggie FitzRoy

After five years attending Christ Episcopal Church, Alex Burch sought a more active role. So he volunteered to become an usher. He told Usher Ministry Coordinator Kathie Seabrook to schedule him for a lot of services.

“He said, ’put me in captain, I’m ready to go,’” said Seabrook, thrilled by his flexibility and enthusiasm. “We need more like him.”

Ushers serve during the traditional Sunday morning 7:30, 9, and 11:15 services, and also Sunday evenings at 5 o’clock. They greet people, hand out bulletins, pass the plates during the offertory, facilitate communion, and at the 5 p.m. service, help with candle lighting. The ministry is important because by greeting people as they arrive, “they are the first face of the church,” Seabrook said, adding that It’s also an easy way to become part of the church and a great way to meet people, which is why newcomers are often attracted to it.

Ushering is also a way for couples and family members to volunteer together. Steve Bruce and his son, Juan, 16, have been ushering together since Juan was four. “When he was a real little boy, he didn’t know putting money in the plate was voluntary, so he’d just stand there and guilt people into giving something,” Steve said. “It was so cute.” Father and son still regularly serve together at the 9 a.m. service, and on Christmas Eve. “Only now, he’s about three inches taller than me,” Steve said.

Seabrook is responsible for scheduling two ushers for the 7:30 and 5 o’clock services, and four at 9 and 11:15 services. She always welcomes new volunteers. Deacon Jo Hoskins asked Seabrook to become usher coordinator more than fifteen years ago, and Seabrook is glad she accepted because it helps her feel closer to the church.

After serving at a recent 9 o’clock service, Burch was so excited about his new role that he told Seabrook he’d be glad to usher back-to-back, whenever needed, at 9 o’clock and then again at 11:15. “It makes me feel like I’m part of the family and the community,” he said.