Usher Manual - West Worship Center (WWC)
For many, Worship begins with quiet reverence. Ushers in the WWC should model such an atmosphere. The only contact that many people have Sunday morning is with Ushers. Be sure to greet everyone with a smile, eye contact, warm welcome and a hearty handshake.
If you are serving in the balcony, please see this section
Proactively seat people until it is time to receive the offering. Be a "matchmaker." Many people attend WBC alone. Attempt to seat them together with others in the same gender who are alone. Make eye contact as people enter the WWC. Not always, but often they will come down the aisle to you. When seating, please do your best to avoid having just one or a few persons in a long row of seats. Besides making them feel incredibly lonely and awkward, it is difficult to serve offering and communion to nearly empty rows. You can communicate that you have seats available by nodding your head. If that does not work for you, walk (deliberately, not briskly) to meet them. Smile, greet them and ask them how many seats they need. Just nod and say, “I have x seats right up here.” Begin walking (not too fast) in that direction. Most often, they will follow. We want to avoid the “hot dog vendor look” (raising hand up high to proclaim the number of seats that are available).
Be especially watchful for visitors. It is extremely easy to spot them because, as they walk in the door, they gaze up and around the WWC. Be sure to greet them and ask if this is their first visit. If they are, please personally escort them down the aisle and attempt to seat them next to a friendly member who you know will chat with them. Actually introduce the visitor to the long time member. Sometimes a bit of humor actually helps them break the ice. For instance, "Joe Smith, this is a visitor to our church. Visitor, this is Joe, and he's been giving the usher team a hard time lately so we need you to keep an eye on him for us." If possible, please eventually give the visitor a brochure from the front desk that explains Alpha and Begin classes. Please mention when the next classes are scheduled to start. This information is always posted on the white board in the usher room.
Even though we encourage people to move in away from the aisle, many insist on an aisle seat. It can be awkward to seat people in empty seats toward the center of the row when someone is sitting in the way. As people approach, put your hand on the top of the preceding pew and look down toward the center of the pew. The person sitting in the aisle seat will normally get the hint and either move down or allow room for others to slip by.
People should not be seated during dramas, choir numbers, prayer and other reverent moments. If they have entered the WWC during these times, just whisper, "We'll be seating in just a moment." Stand still with them at the back until an appropriate time.
We should encourage persons in wheelchairs to be positioned in such a way as not to impede traffic. Fourteen wheelchair locations are positioned at strategic points on the main level of the West Worship Center. They are situated in such a way that those accompanying handicapped individuals may be seated near them. Those locations are shown on the map in the usher room.
Be ready to take the offering at the appointed time.
Four Bulletin Ushers
(also serves as the usher who receives plates during offering):
Stand just inside the door. Greet people, distribute bulletins and shake hands when possible and when possible, adhere to the ancient custom of greeting the lady first.
Urge them to head toward the Seating Usher for seating. Keep eyes focused on the door (instead of the stage), so that an usher who is eagerly waiting to help will greet each person entering.
Be ready to take the offering at the appointed time.
Receiving the Offering:
Before the service starts, consult the head usher or the order of worship to determine when the offering is to be received. When the time is right, pick up your plate(s) and be ready in position. Ushers will walk forward by invitation from the pulpit or during a pre-offering prayer or song.
At the front of the WWC, begin receiving offering when the sending usher in Aisle 4 usher begins, which is normally when the “music to receive offering by” starts. Revision (July 2009) Please start passing the plates right at the end of the prayer.
The WWC has 20 rows of pews (front to back). Five "Quarterback Ushers" begin sending all their plates (one per row) across to the receiving ushers. The plates are passed from the speaker's left to right. Another five "Wide Receiver" ushers at the opposite end of those rows will collect all of the plates.
Ushers eyes should be kept looking toward the WWC Doors. We want to avoid gazing down the pews at people as they give. Eye contact should be kept to a minimum. (On the other hand, please do watch the plates out of the corner of your eyes)
Do not attempt to receive offering and concurrently attempt to seat people. When the offering process begins, the Door Ushers will be personally escorting each latecomer to a seat.
Keep a count of and know where your plates are.
No one is ever alone with the offering. There must always be two or more ushers or counting team persons with the offering.
After all offering plates are returned to the Usher office, the head ushers will take care of things from then on.
This goes without saying, but since this happened many years ago, a mention needs to be made. A crucial and strictly enforced rule is regarding the confidentiality of gifts. If you should see the name of a donor and/or a gift amount, it must be kept strictly confidential forever. There is never an occasion when any aspect of information of that type is to be repeated or conveyed in any manner. Ushers and Counting Team members who violate such confidentiality will be asked to leave the team.
Should a fire alarm occur while the offering is being received, all plates should be immediately collected and taken to the usher office. Hold the WWC Doors open until it is cleared.
WWC Greeter / Door Usher:
One is stationed at each of the four main WWC Doors.
Greets people with a hearty handshake.
Keeps the doors shut during the Call to Worship, Video, Drama, Prayer, Musical performance and/or other reverent moment happening in the WWC. When the noise level in the Atrium is greater than in the WWC, the doors should remain closed. We encourage the Usher to quietly say, “We’ll be opening the doors shortly.” They will usually respond with a nod of understanding.
When the ushers inside the WWC are in offering mode, the Door Usher distributes bulletins and personally escorts each latecomer to a seat.
At the end of the Worship Service, is responsible for making sure that the doors are opened.
TWO Atrium Ushers:
Occasionally, the head usher will ask you to serve as the Atrium Usher for an hour.
The primary responsibilities of the Atrium Usher:
Stays in the Atrium from offering time until the service is over.
Personally escorts late arriving Worshippers to an empty seat. This means greeting people as they enter approach doors 3 or 4, offering them a bulletin, asking them if they have a preference in seating and quietly escorting them to a vacant seat in the WWC. It is helpful to initially address them in a quiet tone of voice so that they too will begin a quiet tone.
Occasionally checks the WWC to see if there is a noisy child problem that needs to be invited to use the crying room.
Occasionally checks the WWC temperature to see if the environment is okay. If not, notifies the building engineer staff member.
Helps locate parents of sick children by using the parent pager. (Directions are taped to the parent pager Usher Office)
Directs visitors who need other assistance to the Information Desk in the Atrium.
Helps those who are in search of financial assistance to find one of the pastors equipped to distribute funds from the fellowship account.
Knows where to find the MD and nurses. A clipboard at the information desk lists the locations of available emergency medical personnel. Also punch “000” into the parent pager to locate other medical personnel.
Knows where to find a pastor, should one be needed.
Will call 911 should a more severe medical emergency exist.
Helps the door ushers open doors at the conclusion of the service.
EMERGENCIES: See Emergency Responses link first
Everyone exits immediately. - No exceptions!
Certain ushers should check the washrooms for disabled and/or elderly people.
Whether it's a real or false alarm, the fire department “owns the building.”
Ushers should prop open the WWC doors.
Ask people to move across the street from the building to keep the exit paths clear and the entrances clear for emergency personnel. Even though the building is constructed of concrete, there are other possibilities, including gas leaks, over-pressurized boilers or low water pressure.
Should the fire alarm sound while offering plates are in the aisle, the remaining plates should be collected and stored in the usher room.
If/when the Fire Marshall declares the building safe to return to, the ushers should all go back to their regular door and aisle positions and help people be seated.
When most of the people have returned, the Worship leader will lead the congregation in a hymn to restore the service. If offering is yet to be received (or needs to be continued) the Worship Leader should warn the ushers when, by announcing, “We will receive the offering after we sing this Hymn.” The ushers will start the offering process over from the beginning, even if certain aisles will be passing the plates again.
Have the Front Door Staff member at the front desk call 911.
They will probably tell the fire department to enter at the revolving doors near the atrium welcome desk.
If fully staffed, the parking crew will direct the ambulance to the correct door.
Find the MD and Nurse.
If needed, punch “000” on the parent pager. The Doctors and nurses have been told to report to the Narthex desk when they see that signal. There is a clipboard on the Narthex Desk that shows the whereabouts of medical personal.
It is typically best for a Heart Attack Victim to stay in a seated position. Stretchers and wheelchairs are located in Usher room.
Last updated or reviewed on 12/25/2018 08:10 AM