St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.


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Before the Service: Plan to arrive at church 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the service. Go to the sacristy, vest, and do a quick check to make sure that the candle lighters, wicks, matches, candles, etc. are all in order. Altar Guild members will be in and out of the sacristy if you have any questions. A few minutes before the service the pastors will gather everyone in the sacristy for a word of prayer.

Lighting the Candles: Enter the chancel during the first hymn and as the processional begins. Light the candle next to the cross first. Next, light the candelabra from the top down. Try to stay in sync with the other acolyte.

Setting up the Communion Rail: Set up the center communion rail with kneeling pad during the offering.

Receiving Communion: At the end of the communion liturgy, as “Lamb of God” is sung, all those helping with communion will gather in front of the altar to receive communion. The pastors will motion you forward.

During Communion: After you have received communion, exit the chancel by the side doors and make your way to the communion tables. Put on the white gloves that are either by your seat in the chancel or on the tables underneath the wine trays. Stand next to the first aisle and within close reach of the communion table. There should be more than enough room for people to take a cup and walk by you. Hold one tray at a time and turn the tray as people remove cups. Don’t wait for every cup to be taken before getting a new tray. Switch when you get low. If all the grape juice cups are taken, exchange your tray with a new one even if you have lots of empty cups remaining. When you switch trays, always put the used trays on the bottom of the stack. The cover should always be put on the top tray, not on the table, so that you have enough room to maneuver. It’s a little fussy but you’ll get the hang of it!

After Everyone has Communed: Make sure that the communion trays for each table are in one stack with the cover on top. Return to the chancel through the side doors and then remove the center communion rail and the kneeling pad. Help the pastors and crucifer remove the sacraments from the altar if they are not already finished.

Extinguishing the Candles: Wait until the recessional begins and the pastors and crucifer are walking toward the back of the church. Extinguish the candles starting with the lowest one on the candelabra and work your way towards the center cross. Once again, try to stay in sync with your partner.

After the Service: Hang up your vestments. Let members of the Altar Guild know if there were any problems with the candles, lighters, your robe, or anything else.

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America