By David Feick
Verger, Christ Church, Reading
On Friday afternoon, October 8, about 5:30 p.m., seven of our acolytes and six adults squeezed into a 15-passenger van and headed for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Attending this event, the 31st annual Acolyte Festival, was the third time for Christ Church and was organized by the Verger, David Feick and his wife, Judith. In the past, several of the acolytes were at the 26th and the 27th annual festivals. The van was driven by Greg Allison and, along with David and Judith, included adult passengers Jim and Vickie Wilson and June Tull. Our team of acolytes was (oldest to youngest) Abigail Tull, Erica Allen, Milah Allison, Jonathan Allen, Bailey Allison and Veronica and Jacqueline Wilson. For Abigail this was her third time attending and for Erica and Milah, this was their second time.
The group arrived at the Hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn, about 9:00 p.m. and following Evening Prayer, enjoyed some pizza. After a good night’s rest and a Marriott complementary buffet breakfast, the group left for the Cathedral, about ten minutes away, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The van was packed and, in addition to personal luggage, the paraphernalia included two suitcases for banners, stands, crosses, torches and vestments. There was no room to spare! In addition to his excellent driving, Greg was the one who saw to it that everything fit.
Everything was carried into the Cathedral and once the group was registered, assembly of the various processional components was completed in the aisle adjacent to our seats. The service began with the Organ Voluntary a short time before 10:00 a.m. and shortly thereafter, the one-hour-long Acolyte Procession began. There were over 700 acolytes in attendance from 19 states and the District of Columbia. Cathedral Vergers were there in profusion. In addition to Christ Church, the Diocese of Bethlehem was represented by the Church of the Epiphany Clark’s Summit, Christ Church Stroudsburg and Trinity Church Mt. Pocono. Acolytes from five other denominations were in attendance, as well. The farthest were from California and the state of Washington. Included in the procession were many kite type streamers, similar to our wind sock that is carried in the Christ Church processions all through the season of Pentecost. The Christ Church procession was led by the Verger and included our Christ Church “He Lives” banner, two processional crosses and four torches. As they approached the chancel, each of the parish groups was greeted by the Bishop of Washington, DC.
The sermon was preached by The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, Canon to the Presiding Bishop. He reminded the Acolytes that with all life’s challenges and responsibilities as Acolytes and at home and school, each of us cannot presume to address our challenges as if we were God; rather, as our Creed states, we believe in one God. The Acolytes received a prayer of blessing and rededication from the Bishop and the Holy Eucharist was celebrated. Following the service, we enjoyed a very nice sandwich lunch on the steps of the National Cathedral, while each of our seven acolytes signed the back of the “He Lives” banner, along with several names from many years ago when the banner was first created.
The van arrived home in the Feick driveway at 5:00 PM Saturday afternoon. Our Christ Church acolytes were excellent and all should be very proud of their dedicated service at the Festival and at our altar. Along with the Jerusalem Cross, regularly worn by each of our acolytes, look for the medallion presented to all acolytes in attendance at the Festival.