Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Candle lighting order

Fr, Daniel has come up with an "Acolyte-Reader Rota" for the next few months (for Crucifers, Lucifers, Epistlers -- Epistolator is the term I learned, though that does somehow sound like "worshiper of the Epistles"), so we know in advance who is scheduled to serve how and when. This is a Good Thing -- knowing that it takes 22 minutes (+/-1, if everything is normal) to get to church I can schedule our arrival appropriately.

From my acolyte training a long, long time ago, the candles are supposed to be lit 10 minutes before the service, at which point any chit-chat in the Nave ends (and hush in the Narthex is also advised). This means that if I am serving as acolyte, I need to arrive at least 20 minutes before the service in order to get vested, find something to light the taper, double-check that everything is set in the Sanctuary (not a requisite part of the job but over the years I've learned to check), etc.

I might not have to serve as acolyte any more, as Ranjit is taking on the job of Acolyte Master for several of the boys who are now old enough for the job. I think their participation is a great thing! Some things have been missing in what ad-hoc training has been done thus far --when to ring the bells (much simpler today than in years past) and candle-lighting order-- but I'm sure that will resolve itself.

I know this is really deep into adiaphora (inconsequentials -- I think we learned that word in one of our classes last year), but I was taught strictly that the candles lit Epistle-side first, Gospel last, and extinguished in reverse order. (The phrase I recall from almost 50 years ago was, "The Gospel candle never stands alone.") I learned from Fr. David (from Gibraltar) that in the UK the order is the other way, confirmed by an acolyte handbook he had. I wonder how this difference came to pass? Nevertheless, my training stands and I hope we'll at least have consistency. Not that this matters in the least -- maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.

And though I enjoy reading the Epistle, I am delighted to see the monthly line-up of readers. Ranjit's readings are a delight to hear, and I am looking forward to hearing Drew and Brent for the first time.

I'm also delighted to see that the plan for 5th Sundays is to start with Morning Prayer (sung, no doubt) and then continuing with Holy Communion. It lengthens the service a bit, but I myself like it.


  • At 11:39 PM, Anonymous An Anglican Geek said…

    I must work to tame my Southern drawl, which was far less conspicuous back home in Virginia.

    Faithfully yours,


  • At 3:12 PM, Anonymous An Anglican Geek said…

    I've served regularly at two parishes, and infrequently at a few others, and in all of them I was instructed to light the candles on the Epistle end first. The text upon which my initial instruction was based, A Server's Manual by Robert Frederick Lau, specifies this order as well. Interestingly, I recently discovered that the book's text was available at Project Canterbury.

    Faithfully yours,


  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Continuing Home said…


    Thank you very much for the link! Very interesting.

    I see we are not completely in conformance to that text, though fairly close. Interestingly, the practice of offering the cruets from the right and receiving from the left was only introduced a few years ago by our previous rector (who also reversed the candle-lighting order).

    Drawl? I don't remember hearing a Southern drawl. (I have completely lost my Virginia accent.)


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