Guidelines for Servers

The Cathedral church of St. Ennodius and St. Veronica, Wenchoster, England.



  1. Servers are expected to attend Church on a regular basis, whether on the serving schedule or not.  Sunday football practice is not an excuse, nor a justification, nor a means of grace.

  2. Servers must participate in the Holy Mystery of Confession on a regular basis.  Self-discipline should take place only under the advice of the Dean, and preferably with a close friend.

  3. Serving at the Altar is a privilege and an honour. All actions, movements, assignments and duties must reflect this attitude.  No spitting, swearing or unauthorised genuflecting.  Do not pick your nose.

  4. We must all remember we are in the Presence of the Canon Precentor when we are in Church. All actions, movements, assignments and duties must reflect this.  Be aware that the security cameras will record every motion.

  5. When you are unable to attend any Divine Service that you are scheduled for; you are expected to contact the Serving Team Leader as soon as you know so he can schedule a replacement.  You will not receive your quarterly Voucher for a free 3-course meal in the Refectory if you miss more than 2 services in ten weeks.

  6. Shirts must have collars; remove your ties. Turtlenecks are good; especially for Great Lent (black).  Caftans are out.  As are combat fatigues, naval uniforms (all ranks), deep-sea diving equipment, and Mothers' Union badges.

  7. Dark shoes must be worn; no athletic footwear.  Shoes should be laced up and tied. During summer months sandals are acceptable only with dark socks.  No flip-flops or deck shoes.  No steel-toecap boots.  No flashing lights.

  8. Underwear is to be fresh daily, and whilst Y-fronts, boxers and briefs are acceptable, thongs, backless and other styles are not allowed.  Unannounced spot-checks may be made at any time.  Athletic supports may only be worn for medical reasons.  Cricket boxes are only allowed if the wearer is playing for one of the teams in the Diocesan Cricket Cup immediately after Divine service.

  9. A fresh handkerchief should be carried; especially when serving at a celebration in the Mandylion chapel.

  10. Servers should not adorn themselves i.e.: earrings; bracelets; cologne; eau-de-toilette, Mohican or gel-spiked hair styles. The alb and girdle is your adornment.  Nothing is to be pierced.  No earlobe-stretching rings.

  11. Even when not serving the dress and behaviour code must be adhered to by all servers.  The only exception is when attending the Annual Outing to Bognor Regis.  Then casual clothes should be worn.  ("Casual" does not include bondage trousers, string vests, knotted handkerchiefs or T-shirts with explicit sexual logos.)

  12. All change of vestments or clothing must be done in the Vestry and not behind the High altar, in the Lady chapel, on the stairs to the Chained Library or in the West porch.

  13. "Tread lightly!  Walk softly." Servers are to stand transparently; meaning no movement and no noise making.  Do not eat baked beans or garlic the night before a service.

  14. No talking in the Sanctuary unless absolutely necessary, eg: when Father sets his chasuble alight with the altar candle, or if one of the priests dies during a sermon.

  15. When Father crosses himself and bows all servers do the same, even if it is not at a liturgically-approved point in the service.  If Father sways from side to side, do not attempt to copy him.

  16. During the psalms everyone must stand absolutely still and silent.  Do not attempt to sing – it puts the choir off.

  17. Eating and Drinking are forbidden in the Sanctuary and the Vestry at all times, even on Feast days.  It is very difficult to get beetroot stains out of the fair linen.

  18. No singing by servers in the Sanctuary. Only ordained Clergy are permitted to sing in this central place.  Do not sing along with the Clergy.  Do not sing other popular words to well-known hymns.  Do not mutter “asides” when hackneyed choruses are announced.  Do not sway to the music, tap your feet or whistle a merry tune.

  19. Everyone should enter the church through the nave, or at the very least, one of the church doors.  Venerate Icons, put up candles, etc., before entering the Sanctuary.  Do not bring your own private article of devotion into the service with you.  Soft toys may be blessed at the communion rail only when brought by children aged 5 years and younger.

  20. Upon entering the Sanctuary all servers should bow to the Holy Table in the following fashion: Three Full Prostrations; except Saturdays; Sundays; Friday and Saturday Night Services; or when there is an “R” in the month.  At those services three Reverences are to be performed. (Reverences: cross yourself and bow from the waist.)  Reverences are also done the seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost, on Oak Apple Day (May 29th) and on the cathedral Patronal Festivals.

  21. Everyone should arrive for Liturgy before the start of the first hymn and at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the sermon.  Latecomers will be made to stand in the corner.

  22. All Preparations must be done before the service starts.  Halfway through the Sursum Corda is not the time to be adjusting the positioning of the cruet.

  23. Absolutely NO CLEANING is to be carried out during Divine Service.  No removal of hard wax from altar cloths, floors, chairs, garments or ears.  No attention to guttering candles by pushing the hot wax into the gully.  No scraping of tables, flicking of bat droppings, or throwing of paper darts during any liturgy.

  24. Once in the Sanctuary no one is to leave!  Go to the toilet before the service begins.  Or bring a bottle.

  25. The Priest's door in the Sanctuary should remain closed and locked during all Services.  When the Wenchoster County Fire Officer is carrying out his annual Safety Inspection, the cupboard in the Vestry where the fire extinguishers are stored is to be opened.  No-one is to remain in the closet.

  26. The box of matches should be taken out to the server responsible for lighting the candles as soon as all of them have been placed in the candlesticks and had their wicks trimmed.

  27. The Welcome Verger on duty  will send in a piece of paper with the number of people in the congregation immediately after the Gospel Reading.  This is to be given to the server responsible for the hosts.

  28. On Maundy Thursday, when white bread is used for the Holy Mysteries, one server should go to the Refectory and defrost the required number of slices, (1 slice = 20 communicants).  They are to do this quickly so the celebrant does not consecrate an empty ciborium.  If the celebrant runs out of the Holy Body half-way along the 8th rail of communicants, one of the servers should go and fetch another couple of slices.  If all the servers are busy,  request the assistance of one of the Vergers who is not guiding late-comers to empty seats to do it for you. Quickly. (This is the only time a Verger may leave the body of the church during a service).

  29. Servers must clean all flagons, chalices, ciboria and patens in the Vestry, using hot water and a tot of brandy.  This must take place immediately after the Service.  Nothing leaves the Sanctuary or the Vestry unless first cleared by the Canon Precentor.  Not even if the Buffet supper is already being served at the Nine  Bells.

  30. During the Sermon everyone should listen and sit still and silent, however wandering the theology. The youngest of the Servers (the boat-boy) should sit quietly during the Sermon and may play on a hand-held computer game or read an educational book.  Servers above the age of 12 years should listen to the Sermon. Do not pick at your spots during the Prayer of Consecration.

  31. We will use a circular path by servers on all Entrances. This means out the North door; in the South door, down to the West end and up the central aisle. We will use only one candle for all Entrances except for the Great Entrance.  Entrance from the stairs to the Chained Library is only made on Trafalgar Day (October 18th) to commemorate the visit made by Lord Nelson to the cathedral in 1803.  On this day the Serving Team Leader may dangle a Bosun's Call (whistle) from his girdle and walk with a swaying gait.  However, the response to the Greeting "The Lord be with you" remains either "And with thy spirit" or "And also with you", and NOT "Hello sailor!"

  32. Upon the completion of the Service; when leaving the Sanctuary; all servers should acknowledge the Holy Table in the same way as when they entered.  This does not include slipping on the polished marble if this occurred on the way in.

  33. Servers are not permitted to finish off what is left of the bread and wine after Communion under any circumstance.  This is to be taken to the Chapter House for consumption by the Dean.

  34. Vacuuming is to be done after all the Faithful have left the Church and not before.  Several complaints have been received from elderly matrons of the Close about seeing various electrical appliances on their way out. 




Thank you all for your reverential cooperation.

Mr. Arthur Wrightis.

Head Sacristan.


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