Each month, we’ll follow Ward member, Cindy Ziemba, on her adventures around the (volunteer) globe. Did you know there are over 100 unique roles filled by volunteers each month? Cindy will share the good, the surprising, the challenging…the authentic experience behind a wide range of volunteer roles at Ward Church, all serving to connect people to God!
“The scariest thing for most,” Michele said, “Is walking down the aisle.”
She wasn’t talking about marriage – Michele is a lead usher, and was sharing how volunteers can feel intimidated when it comes to ushering. The big moment is walking to the front of the room – while the congregation is seated – to wait for the prayer and cue to pass plates for the offering. The aisles, particularly in the sanctuary, are pretty long.
For my sanctuary ushering experience, I was fortunate to be assigned to one of the rear “pie slices” for offering. That meant only walking a third of the way up the aisle to wait for my cue. I didn’t find that part at all intimidating. But the ‘dance’ of making sure the offering plates make it to every row – well, that was a bit more challenging. Do I hand it to the two people on the end, and reach for it back, or will they feel pressured? Is it worse for them to run it to the other end of the pew? Thankfully Brion, the experienced usher on the other side, gave me hand motions and rolled with my decisions. I must have looked a little concerned – enough so that a gentleman near the back called me over to him when we finished. “Just keep smiling!” he cajoled with a grin. Okay, I must have looked quite unsure. But at least I didn’t drop the plate.
Next, I tried my hand at a different aspect of ushering. The usher teams at the entrances of the worship venue were pleasant and welcoming. In the moments before service, I was told my help was not needed here, but a well-experienced usher had a different idea. He handed me his connection cards to distribute and told me I needed to have the ‘full experience,’ and that he’d be sitting with his wife. Well played, sir. I enjoyed the doorway greeting and passing out the inserts. It was apparent that most ushers serve in a consistent ‘spot’ in the room. Since most attendees sit in the same area each week, an usher can be a consistent point of connection and welcome.
The great thing about ushering, unlike most other volunteer roles, is that you can volunteer while you are in the worship services. No need to stay a second worship hour as many spots require. Ushers generally serve once a month, consistently in either Knox Hall or the Sanctuary. A separate team handles the early Chapel service.
Ushers told me it is difficult when all the spots are not filled, because the offering ‘dance’ is even more challenging when they have to turn back-to-back in two sections. And – perhaps with the exception of the walk down the aisle, it’s an easy way to jump into serving.
Interested in joining the usher team? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions for Cindy about finding your spot on one of the many serve teams? Contact her at email@example.com