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Sunday School

St. Paul's Sunday School program is open to all children who want to learn about the life and teachings of Jesus and the history of our religion. It is taught in such a way as to create delightful and fun learning, including crafts, music, stories, and other activities.

Children are eligible from age 3 to 12th grade, and need not belong to St. Paul Lutheran Church to attend.

Each year the children donate a portion of their offerings to help people in need. This year they are working on purchasing mosquito netting and medication, to help save people from malaria, in tropical, mosquito infested areas. They can earn cute little mosquitos for their efforts, and they enjoy helping.

Children also create greeting cards and other special treats for our elderly who reside in area nursing homes. Each classroom has a designated "friend" for whom they create these well-wishes and gifts of love.

Come, learn, and enjoy. All are welcome!

Luther League

St Paul's Luther League is comprised of two groups, the junior group and senior group. Between the two groups, youth can enjoy the companionship, fellowship, and fun of joining with their friends in a safe, Christian environment. They have the opportunity to go on various outings, including the National Youth Convention which takes place every three years, and is open to all high school age youth.

Acolyte Program

The office of acolyte, for which the individual youth must apply and to which the individual youth has been called, requires discipline of mind and body, a deep reverence for holy things, loyalty to this office, prayer, and training.

Each Sunday, and on other worship occasions, Christ's Body on earth, the Church, comes together to praise God in word, song, and action; to be taught, guided, and inspired by God's Word; and to be fed and strengthened with the Body and Blood of Christ. Into this atmosphere the acolyte will report for service, dressed in strange and unfamiliar garments, equipped to be of service to God and the Church.

After the initial training the youth will have further opportunities to clarify their specific duties and activities as an acolyte. They may also receive special instructions from the Pastor prior to the worship service and on occasion may be asked to be of specific assistance during the worship service.

As an acolyte, youth become a part of the rich history and heritage of those who have responded to this important Call.

Why Acolytes?

A young man or woman who desires to hold the office of acolyte must keep in mind that the Lutheran view does not look upon the office of acolyte as a stepping-stone to the ministry. This office is not an "order" into which a selected individual is admitted and in which he/she is given certain rights and privileges not enjoyed by other Christians. The New Testament (and the Lutheran Confessions are in accord with it) knows of only one office which rests upon divine institution, namely, the office of the ministry of the Word. All other offices are assignments of functions, designated by various names, to assist in this ministry of the Word.

Thus acolytes are to remember at all times that an acolyte will remain on the same level with their fellow-believers, serving them with the gifts at their command. To serve as an acolyte is "only one way", in no sense better than that of the other functions within the church or than those daily tasks to which Christ has called each believer.

And yet, though the office of acolyte is not better than any other office in the church, it is unique; it is special. Special because acolytes will become familiar with the life and activities of the church. An acolyte will participate in the church's prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, and in a sense they will become assistants in the worship of the church.

Another point that makes the office of Acolyte special and unique is that the reverent dignity and quiet order of God's House are maintained and enhanced through them. The many small but important tasks which the pastor might otherwise perform are taken care of by acolytes.

Finally, this office is special and unique in that it gives an opportunity for any young person to serve at the altar of our Lord. And no greater opportunity can be offered to youth.

The History Of The Office

As the fellowship of Christians spread over the earth in the years following Pentecost various functions and offices grew up in the church. There were people to preach, to teach, to celebrate the sacraments the ministry of the Word.

By the third century the outward organization of the church was fairly well established. Besides the offices of bishop, presbyter, and deacon other functions were added. One of the prominent minor orders developed was that of acolytes - those assigned to assist the bishop in many ways and to help the clergy during the services. The word "acolyte" comes from the Greek verb to follow, to accompany, to escort." Thus an acolyte is an attendant, a follower, a helper.

Acolytes were a novelty in the early Church. They came into use only when there was a need. Some of their functions were preparing baptismal candidates, preparing the water for the sacrament, and cleansing the font. Duties during services such as attending upon the altar and receiving the offering are later developments. It is known that the acolytes assisted at the celebration of the Holy Communion. They carried the consecrated elements from the altar of consecration to the many churches in Rome.

The most famous acolyte of history is Tarsicus. Emperor Valerian in A.D. 258 issued a decree that bishops and priests were to sacrifice to the gods, and that Christians were forbidden to assemble or use their cemeteries. The penalty for violation was death by roasting. Tarsicus was carrying the "elements" in his linen bag from one of the Christian catacombs to the churches within the city itself. While on the Appian Way he was stopped by' a band of soldiers who wanted to see what he was concealing beneath his cloak. Tarsicus refused to show them and was therefore beaten to death on the spot. Being an acolyte was no job for the fainthearted!

Being an acolyte today is not for the weak hearted. True, they are in no danger of having to give up their lives, but they must constantly be prepared to turn back temptation, and at times may even have to endure the laughter of those who have little or no time for service to Christ and His church.

During the Middle Ages the order of acolytes became firmly established. First of all, they were the servants of the bishops and other clergy; and then they were responsible for carrying the lighted tapers for the use of the officiating clerics, receiving the offering of the people, bringing the wine and water to the celebrant at the proper time, taking the "elements" to other churches, and so forth.

During the pre-Reformation period the action for which most people think we have acolytes - to light the candles upon the altar - came into being. Previous to the tenth century, the candlesticks were carried by the acolytes and were usually of great size, being placed on the floor of the sanctuary near the corners of the altar.