A warm welcome
With a warm smile and bulletins in hand, Sam Dickman greets visitors as they walk into the Sanctuary for worship.
A bit later in worship, he makes his way down the middle aisle with seven fellow ushers. They are given baskets for offering, then make their way through worshipers gathering the gifts of the day. He is one of approximately 100 people, adults and kids, who are a part of the usher team at St. Paul.
Ushers are an important part of the spirit of hospitality at worship, said Tom Eriksen, usher coordinator. Gratitude runs deep in particular for their work during Lent and Holy Week.
“Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host. Ushers are at the forefront of this. Ushers greet all people with warmth and kindness. We offer assistance to all members and guests with any questions or concerns or needs they may have. There’s a great amount of helpfulness and compassion shared by our ushers. All of this is hospitality.”
What do ushers do?
Greet: Welcoming people with good words is one of their most important jobs.
Seat: Finding a seat can sometimes be a challenge on full weekend services. The ushers help ensure everyone has a place to settle in. Occasionally, that means assisting with setting up extra chairs.
Assist: St. Paul offers a listening system for people who have hearing difficulties. Ushers help connect folks with the sets. They are there when a medical problem emerges.
Count: Ever wonder how St. Paul can gauge about how many people are in worship? The ushers quietly count during communion, which helps with worship planning.
Tidy up: After each worship, ushers pick up bulletins and other items left behind in the Sanctuary. They also adjust hymnals and Bibles, and collect the sheets from the blue Welcome to St. Paul books.
An usher has an open and happy spirit, Tom said. “The openness allows people to come to an usher with many types of questions. It also helps ushers to approach others and offer them help. The happiness extends to everyone coming through St. Paul. Sometimes we just need a smile or a friendly ‘Hello!’”
New coordinator carries on tradition of service; long-time coordinator steps back
Jack Kindschuh spent 17 years coordinating the ushers at St. Paul, for the three Sunday services each week, as well as holidays, too. From a team of 100, approximately 22 people are present each week to ensure worship runs smoothly. He won people over with his encouragement to be the best they could be.
Alas, retirement and the golf course called. Jack stepped back earlier this year to enjoy some well-deserved time in the sun.
Meanwhile, with an easy-to-get-to-know personality and dedication to service in the church, Tom Eriksen is St. Paul’s new usher coordinator. Tom is a long-time usher, and member of the Chorale, too. He is husband to Corrina and dad to Rachel. He works at Jerry & Sparky’s Cycling and Fitness in Davenport and lives in Eldridge. Tom is excited and honored to take on this leadership role, and is looking forward to working with, and growing the ranks of, the crew that welcomes and cares for people who come to worship.
“This is a small way for me to give back to a church and community that has given me and my family so much,” Tom said. “Jack Kindschuh has been a great usher mentor to me, and I just hope to carry on the kindness, compassion, and devotion that he has helped to instill in the ushers.”
Interested in learning more about being an usher at St. Paul? Express interest at stpaulqc.org/signups.