Adopted 6/16/16

Procedures & Requirements:  Diaconate Chair and Team


A) Business Support:


     1. Compliance with related policies:    

          Conflict of Interest, Group Meetings, Paid Staff, Purchasing, Amendments to Policies,

          Amendments to Duties, Procedures, and Requirements,Safe Church


     2. Financial Accountability:  In conjunction with the Finance Team, oversee financial activities dealing with the:

         a. Diaconate budget;

         b. Local Aid Endowment;

         c. Music Endowment;

         d. Overseen employee’s (includes the Pastor and any paid ministers) salaries, allowances, and expense budgets;

         e. Office Manager’s salary and expenses when we are without a settled or interim Pastor.


     3. Pastoral Oversight:

        a. Our Congregation hires a professional Pastor to preach the word of God and lead Our Congregation as a Christian Institution on a day-to-day basis.  However, the Pastor may need or welcome guidance and oversight from time to time.  The Diaconate must expect and be prepared to provide this type of support either directly or through the local area Association and/or the  Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (SNEUCC);


     4. Pastoral Relations Team:

         a. Working with the Moderator and the Pastor, appoint three members of Our Congregation as a Pastoral Relations Team.  The Diaconate shall oversee the operation of the Pastoral Relations Team (See: Pastoral Relations Team);


      5. Performance Appraisals:

         a. At least annually, create and carry out suitable means for gathering performance data on the Pastor, each Diaconate employee, and on certain regular volunteers;

         b. In executive session, and utilizing the data gathered and all other appropriate input, prepare a written appraisal of each employee's performance;

         c. Designate the Chair and/or other member or members, to present and discuss the written  appraisal at a private meeting with each individual employee and allow the individual to make  written comments on the appraisal form;

         d. All performance appraisals are confidential between the person or persons preparing the report and the individual involved;

     e. Make recommendations concerning each employee’s compensation and allowances to the Finance Team and, in the case of the Pastor, her or his retirement fund, Annuity, Housing allowance, Car allowance, business expense allowance and health insurance;

         f.  Consider providing similar performance feedback (written or oral) to appropriate regular volunteers.


     6. Reporting:

         a. Present a written report of the previous year’s Diaconate Team activities to be available at each Annual Meeting;

         b. Determine which overseen persons and teams should submit Annual Reports and if their report should be part of the Diaconate’s Report or a stand-alone report in the Diaconate section of the  Church Annual Report.  Overseen persons and teams might include the Pastor, Missions, Music, Pastoral Relations, Christian Service, Stewardship, Flowers and Cards, Visiting Team

B) Monthly Reminders


      1. Chair (of Diaconate)

         a) Write the Annual Report, provide a copy to each Diaconate member, and discuss it at a Diaconate  meeting.  Make any needed changes;

         b) Designate yourself or another Diaconate Member to meet with the Pastor, each Diaconate  employee, and certain volunteers, individually, to present her or his performance appraisal at a  time convenient for all presenters and each individual;

         c) Coordinate Communions, Baptisms, Receptions of new members, and Layman’s Sundays;

         d) Bring any criticisms and suggestions to the Pastor’s or the Pastoral Relations Team’s attention as soon as possible;

         e) Obtain a key to the Church edifice;

         f)  Be the primary contact person during the Pastor’s absence or illness;

         g) Call and Chair the Diaconate meetings.  Notify all Diaconate members, the Pastor, and the  Church Office of regular meeting times, dates, and places (See the Policies on Meetings and  Voting Without Meeting);

         h) Create a recap of each meeting, or have the note keeper do it, and deliver it to the Council with a  copy to the Church Office after each meeting;

          j) Oversee spending of the Diaconate budget, Local Aid Endowment, and Music Endowment;

          k) In February, open the first meeting and initiate discussion/action on which, how, and by whom  Duties A through E in Duties, Procedures and Requirements – Diaconate and Diaconate Chair will be handled;


      2. Record Keeping

          a) Ensure that the Service People name lists are up to date (e.g. Christian Service Coordinator,  Visitation Teams, and After Service Greeters) and that the Memorial Book is updated when  needed;

          b) Each month furnish the names of appropriate service people to the Church Office, e.g. Christian  Service Coordinator, Visiting Team, After Service Greeter, etc.;

          c) Have the Performance Appraisals of the Pastor and each Diaconate employee written up and,  after the appraisal meeting, provided to the Diaconate member who will be discussing it with the  applicable person;

          d) Keep accurate minutes of the Diaconate meetings and provide copies to the other Diaconate Members.  Include the amounts of all (Diaconate Budget, Local Aid Endowment, Music Endowment) spending authorizations but not the names of persons receiving financial aid from  the Local Aid Endowment (such names are strictly confidential).  Provide monthly and YTD totals  to the Finance Team.

C) Outreach                                                                                          


     1. Mission Support

         a) Have someone research, evaluate, and select current mission needs, locally and of the world and recommend those selected for Our Congregation’s potential support.  Oversee support of those selected;

         b) Establish and maintain written guidelines for dispensing the proceeds of the Local Aid Endowment.  The proceeds may be given to local persons and organizations with suitable needs;

         c) Call on the Bookkeeper to expend allowable proceeds upon vote of the Diaconate, agreement of two or more Diaconate Members, or solely by the Pastor when the need for  financial assistance is in conformance with above written guidelines.  The Pastor normally keeps gift cards or equivalent on hand at all times for emergencies.  No names or records are reported except for an annual total of the amounts handed out.

D) Parishioner Support                                                                         

      1. Christian Service- Appoint a Christian Service Coordinator who will:

         a) Create and maintain a list of people willing to provide voluntary transportation, meals, or other support to persons in need;

         b) Receive requests for services and coordinate the volunteers to provide the services;

         c) Record the names of volunteers who have given assistance along with the dates on which they gave assistance and so notify the Pastor;

         d) Update the Parishioner Support lists and notify the Church Office Manager about contact people.  Also ask the Church Office Manager to put a notice in the weekly Order of  Worship, especially in June and September, soliciting volunteers and explaining what these groups do;

         e) Pass the records to the next coordinator.


      2. Fellowship- Appoint a Fellowship Coordinator who will:

         Work with the Kitchen Coordinator (appointed by the Property Team) and arrange for suitable fellowship gatherings, (e.g. after Worship Coffee hours and celebrations),  recruiting help from individuals and organizations whenever appropriate.


      3. Flowers and Cards- Appoint a Flower and Card Person who will:

         a) Review the persons who should receive birthday, Christmas, and Easter flowers with the Pastor and the Office Manager;

         b) Use the Diaconate expense account to cover the cost of cards;

         c) Maintain a list of those who receive flowers and cards;

         d) Send cards for births, illnesses, deaths, and other situations as appropriate;

         e) Ensure that requests for donations for memorial plants are in the Newsletter at least a month before Easter and Christmas;

         f) Order flowers from a local florist;

         g) Have money collected and arrange for payment of bills for purchase of Memorial plants;

         h) Arrange for delivery of flowers and sign the cards from “The First Congregational Church of Georgetown”.  Give instructions to make personal deliveries whenever possible and not to leave flowers and plants in cars or on porches because they may freeze and die;

          j) At Christmas time, not distribute all of the plants on the Sunday before Christmas Day.  Some should remain for the Christmas Eve Service and be delivered afterwards.


      4. Recognition of Achievement

          Recognize individuals, teams, and organizations for outstanding achievements through public announcements, notices in the weekly Order of Worship, appropriate gifts, etc.


      5. Stewardship

          Keep Our Congregation informed on the spiritual benefits of good stewardship by encouraging our Pastor to preach about stewardship, by recruiting members of Our Congregation and others who are qualified to speak about why they give (financially) and work to support Our

          Congregation’s activities, and by engaging outside experts (e.g. SNECUCC people) to instruct our parishioners on why they need to be good stewards.  If there is a need for a Stewardship Team to perform these tasks, appoint one.


      6. Visitation- Appoint a Visitation Administrator who will:

         a) Determine those homebound, in hospitals and nursing homes, non-participants, and new families and coordinate names with the Pastor;

         b) Seek out and keep a list of those willing to call on people in need of a visit(s) and ask them to call on above persons and to make an attempt to visit regularly;

         c) Provide current literature for distribution at visits (e.g., Upper Room, and printed Sermons);

         d) Tell visiting teams to ask if the Church can be of any assistance or if the visited can be of service to the Church and if so to give a memo to the Pastor or the Visitation Administrator;

         e) Keep a record of visits.

E) Worship Service Support                                                                


      1. Baptisms

         a) Ask the Pastor when and where;

         b) Arrange for a Diaconate Member or former Diaconate Member to assist the Pastor;

         c) Also ask if there are any ceremonial utensils or materials needed or being supplied in addition to the Baptismal Font and a Baptismal Certificate;

         d) Twenty to 25 minutes before the service make sure the Baptismal Certificate has been signed by the Pastor and is in hand and that all additional ceremonial utensils/materials (if any) are in place and ready for use;

         e) Insert a suitable amount of luke-warm water in the baptismal font and move the font to the location where the ceremony will actually take place;

         f)  Fifteen minutes or so prior to the service, meet with the Pastor and the individual to be baptized along with any persons accompanying the baptismal candidate (often the parents and, sometimes, the god-parents or close friends);

         g) Provide the Pastor with any requested assistance during the baptismal ceremony and, following the actual baptism, give the certificate to the individual, or if a baby or young child, one of the parents;

         h) After the service return the additional ceremonial utensils/materials to their owners or storage location and empty, rinse, and dry the baptismal font and return it to its storage location.


      2. Communion -- Our Bylaws require Communion to be celebrated at least six times per year. Normally, it is served on the 1st Sunday of each month except during July and August.  The procedure described herein is the normal one when carried out in the Sanctuary.  However, this procedure may be varied as needed in accordance with the type and/or location of the service and the number of people expected to participate.  Proceed as follows:

         a) Ask the Pastor if there is anything special about the service or if there is a need to be aware of anything unusual or any new or special procedures to follow;

         b) Designate specific individuals to make sure sufficient unsweetened grape juice, bread (or a reasonable substitute), and a gluten free alternative are on hand or to procure same.

         c) Select four people to serve.  Recruit help if necessary.

         d) Servers should plan to arrive at the Church 45 minutes prior to the start of the Worship Service wearing appropriate clothing;

         e) Servers should help each other set up a table, cloth, podium if needed, and if desired, a chair for the Pastor;

         f) Servers will need to:

             1) Get out the Communion Service utensils, wipe the plates and covers to remove any  finger prints and polish the Chalice;

             2) Cut up a suitable amount of bread (or a substitute) for the expected size of the Congregation, and arrange the bread and one cup of gluten free substitute on a bread tray for each server.  Stack the trays if there are more than two servers, and cover the trays or stacks.  Also prepare a small plate of bread and/or gluten free substitute for anyone who may not be readily accessible to the servers (e.g. the organist and/or soloists) and cover it with a paper towel or napkin.  Prepare a loaf of bread for the Pastor to break by slicing through the crust only all the way around the loaf, placing it on a dish and covering it with a towel;

             3) Fill enough cups 2/3 to ¾ full with grape juice such that each server has a cup tray with approximately the same number of filled cups and that the total of all filled cups meets the expected size of the congregation.  Stack the cup trays if there are more than two servers and cover the trays or the stacks.  Fill a cup or cups with grape juice for persons not easily accessible to the servers and place it or them on the small plate beside the bread under the towel or napkin cover.  Prepare grape juice for the Pastor to pour into the empty chalice by half filling a glass pitcher;

             4) Arrange the bread and cup plate stacks, the prepared loaf, the pitcher of grape juice and empty chalice, and the prepared loaf on the Communion Table in locations easily accessible to the Pastor;

             5) Deliver the small plate with bread and grape juice to a convenient spot within easy reach of persons not easily accessible to the servers;

         g) Usually the servers split into two groups with two people on the right side of the Communion Table and two on the left side.  When the servers have been given the plates they will proceed to straddle the front of the right side pews and those on the left will straddle the front of the left side pews and proceed to serve as expeditiously as possible, including those seated in the balcony, until all have been served.  Upon completion the servers should meet in the two center aisles and proceed together back to the Communion Table.

         h) After completion of the worship service:

              1) Gather all of the cups, including the cup(s) and dish for the difficult access person(s), and move the serving dishes to the kitchen.  Toss the leftover juice, and give the bread to anyone who wants it or to the birds;

              2) Wash and dry the cups and bread plates and put the Communion dishes away, covering them to prevent any possible damage from dust and tarnishing;

              3) Check the table cloth for spills and other soils and arrange to get it washed if needed. Otherwise put it away.  Restore the Communion Table to normal use, and return any borrowed tables and chairs.


      3. Altar Cloths

Covering cloths for the communion table, pulpit and lectern




Christmas Sunday until Lent


Lent (46 days before Easter) until Easter


Easter until Pentecost


Pentecost (7th Sunday following Easter)


After Pentecost until Reformation


Reformation (Sunday dated Oct. 24 - 30)


If Oct. 31 is a Sunday


All Saints Sunday (1st Sunday in Nov.)


After All Saints until Advent


Advent  First 3 Sundays


WHITE   symbolizes:  Purity, light, and rejoicing

RED        symbolizes:  Christian zeal and the work and ministry of the Church

GREEN    symbolizes:  Hope and growth in Christian life

PURPLE  symbolizes:  Penitence, watching, and fasting

Special holidays


a) Christmas  commemorates the birth of Christ and occurs on December 25th;  it is usually celebrated the evening preceding (24th).   White


b) Epiphany  commemorates the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles; it is celebrated on or about January 6th . White


c) Ash Wednesday  commemorates the beginning of the Lenten fasting period in preparation for Easter and occurs between February 3rd and March 10th, inclusive;  it is celebrated on the Wednesday 46 days before Easter.   Purple


d) Palm Sunday  commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in preparation for his betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection; it is celebrated the Sunday before Easter.    Purple or Red


e) Maundy Thursday  commemorates Jesus’ initiation of Communion (The Last Supper);  it is celebrated the Thursday before Easter.    Purple        


f) Easter Sunday commemorates Christ’s resurrection  and occurs between March 22nd and April 25th , inclusive; it is celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after the March 20th or 21st vernal equinox.   White


g) Pentecost (Whit Sunday) commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles; it is celebrated the 7th Sunday following Easter Sunday. Red


h) Reformation Sunday  commemorates the early 16th century (1500’s) formation of the  various protestant churches; it is celebrated the last Sunday in October except when it falls  on the 31st, then it will be the next to last Sunday.     Red


i)  All Saints Sunday  commemorates all saints (We often use it to memorialize persons who have passed since the prior year’s All Saints Sunday.);  it is celebrated the first Sunday in November.     White


 j) Thanksgiving commemorates the Pilgrim’s giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest of the preceding year;  it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.    Green or Red


k) Advent commemorates the preparation for the coming of the Christ child; it is celebrated the four Sundays before Christmas. First three weeks Purple.   Sunday before Christmas  White


l) “Regular” Sundays All other Sundays (non-holiday or non-seasonal) are White from Christmas to Pentecost or Green from Pentecost to Christmas.

      4. After Service Greeters

            Appoint weekly greeters whenever or for whatever occasions greeters seem appropriate.  Supply their names to the Office Manager so their names may be entered in the Order of Worship.


      5. Music

            Arrange for and oversee Our Congregation’s musical programs. 

               a) This may include employing or engaging a Director of Music, an Organist, musical group directors, talented volunteers and such other personnel as may be needed or useful for  proper support and enhancement of religious services and other Church programs;

               b) Ensure that such persons work in harmony with the Pastor and Teams; 

               c) Provide regularly compensated music persons with performance appraisals and make recommendations regarding their compensation to the Finance Team at least annually;

               d) Also provide regular music volunteers with feedback and goals at least annually.


      6. Pastoral Absence

            Whenever there is no Pastor available the Diaconate has charge of all Pastoral duties except performance of Baptism and Communion.


      7. Pastoral Support

           Assist the Pastor whenever assistance is requested, obviously needed, especially helpful, or likely to enhance the spiritual experience of the congregation or attendees.


      8. Sanctuary Appearance

            Install and remove appropriate decorations for Lent/Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Christian holidays we decide to celebrate.


      9. Ushering

           Recruit and appoint an Ushering Chair or Team or ask the Ushering Chair to appoint a team if or when needed.

               a) Acquaint the chair or team with the Ushering Instructions and update or have them updated as necessary;

               b) Appoint individual Ushers or Ushering Teams or have the Ushering Chair do so, temporarily, annually, or permanently whenever or for whatever occasions ushers seem appropriate;

                  1) Ask different people to perform some of the ushering duties, e.g. senior high youths, couples, father-son or mother-daughter combinations, families, etc. as desired;

                  2) Ask them to arrive early enough to become familiar with the ushering instructions which apply to them so that they are ready to greet, give out Orders of Worship or take  collection.  Usually this is 30 minutes before a service is scheduled to start but may be longer in some cases.

   10. Ushering Instructions For All Services

            Some of the procedures described herein are the usual ones when carried out in the Sanctuary.  However, these procedures may be varied as needed in accordance with the type and/or location of the service and the number of people expected to participate.  Passing out Orders of Worship and taking Collection are obvious ushering duties.  However, there are additional responsibilities:


           a) Obtain Helpers:  Usually a minimum of two ushers are needed for each service.  An Ushering Chair, individual Ushers, or Ushering Teams may be appointed by the Diaconate or the Ushering Chair may be asked to make the appointments, temporarily, annually, or permanently whenever or for whatever occasions ushers seem appropriate;

              1) Ask different people to perform some of the ushering duties, e.g. senior high youths,couples, father-son or mother-daughter combinations, families, etc. as desired;

               2) Ask them to arrive early enough to become familiar with the ushering instructions which apply to them so they are ready to greet, give out Orders of Worship or take collection. Usually this is 30 minutes before the service but may be longer in some cases.


           b) Prior to the Service, usually a half hour or more:  Check with the Pastor to find out if the  candelabra, located in the Choir Robe room, are to be used or if there is anything different about the service. e.g. roping off some of the pews for small children, special guests, a baptismal family, etc. and act on those findings per the instructions below;


           c) Make People Feel Welcome:  If there are people who are obviously strangers, ask if they wish to be seated.  New persons and persons who attend infrequently get their first impression of our Church when they are met by the welcomers & ushers.  New members have often told us that they were first impressed with our church by the friendliness of the ushers & welcomers;


           d) Bell:  Ring the bell approximately 30 minutes before a worship service is to begin and again just before the service starts;


           e) Hymnals and Offering plates:  Fifteen to thirty minutes before the service, make sure there are at least two hymnals and one bible in the rack on the back of each pew section, two offering plates on the Alter Table, and additional plates behind the last pews in case the first plates get filled or for special services such as Christmas and Easter;


           f) Lights:  Adjust the lighting as needed.  Check with the Pastor for any special lighting needs;


           g) Hymn Boards: Set up the hymn numbers in the hymn boards in accordance with the Order of Worship at least 15 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin;


           h) Candles:  Check the length of all the candles to be used in the service.  If they are too short to last the service, replace them.  The supply is located in the office in boxes marked, “New Candles.”   Light the candles five to ten minutes before the service.  Extinguish them following the service;


          i) Water:  Five to ten minutes before the service, place a clean glass of cool water on or inside the pulpit.  Following the service, remove it, empty it, wash and dry the glass and put it away;


           j) Welcomers:  One to two minutes before the service, welcomers should be seated;


           k)  Doors: At Ushers’ discretion, close the rear doors to the sanctuary after the announcements;

           l) Collection:  The procedure for taking the collection is:

              1) Ensure that sufficient collectors are available.  Usually two are required, but sometimes four or more are needed;

              2) Offering plates are located underneath the rear pews adjacent to the two center aisles;

              3) When the Pastor announces it is time to receive the offering, collectors should have acquired an offering plate and be standing equally divided between the two center aisles at the back of the sanctuary;           

              4) On signal from the Pastor they will proceed.  The collector should begin passing their offertory plates with the Parishioner closest to the front in the outside section of pews on his/her aisle.  Then continue as rapidly and expeditiously as possible until all, including persons in the balcony, have had an opportunity to insert envelopes, cash,  etc. into a collection plate;

              5) When the collection is completed, the music source will start playing the introduction to the Doxology signaling the congregation to stand up and the collectors to face the front of the Sanctuary, proceed together down their respective aisles, line up facing the Alter Table, place their offertory  plates on the table or hold them until the Pastor takes them, and wait while the congregation completes singing the  doxology;

              6) The Pastor or a designated person will lead the recitation of a prayer after which the congregation will sit down and the collectors may return to their seats.




           m) Attendance:  Count the number of adults and children.  Record the numbers and the date and report the data to the Church Office Manager;


           n) People Leaving the Service:  Be alert for people needing to leave the service because of coughing, baby crying, etc.  If possible, open the door for them and make sure it doesn’t slam after they exit;


           o) Church School Attending The Service:  If Church School participants are coming for the latter part of a service, get them at the appropriate time and make sure the teachers and their helpers have or receive Orders of Worship;


            p) Disturbances:  Check on disturbances, especially loud noises coming from within the Church Edifice.  A door may need to be closed, someone might need to be nicely asked to be quiet, or there could be a medical emergency;


           q) After the Service:  Check the pews for forgotten items.  If any are found turn them in to the Pastor or the Office Manager for safe keeping.  Remove Orders of Worship from the pews and hymnals, straighten the hymnals and bibles and return unused Orders of Worship to the Church Office along with the basket.