When I was growing up, I attended St. Mark Lutheran Church in Mt. Prospect, IL. It was a big church offering three services on Sunday morning: 8:00; 9:30; and 11:00. The 8:00 a.m. service was relatively new. And as you might imagine, it was sometimes a challenge to staff the early service with ushers.
The head of the ushering program – Mr. Wendt – often had to attend all three services – filling in as needed. Finally, perhaps in some desperation, he approached the head of the church’s youth program — and asked if there were some high school boys who could “help out” with the early service. The answer? “Sure.” So Chuck, Wayne, Randy, Dave and I — were tapped to usher the 8:00 a.m. service — every Sunday.
On the first Sunday, the five of us showed up early. Suits. Ties. We each donned a white carnation and got an ushering lesson from Mr. Wendt. He guided us through the service offering a running commentary (“smile” “greet people by name if you can” “when collecting the offering, walk backwards – never turn your back on the altar“). After a few weeks of this, the five of us had the protocol down pat. And a few weeks later, Mr. Wendt said “keep up the good work, boys” and he never showed up again. . . . .