’10 Commandments’ for Church Ushers

First Baptist Church Archives Collection. n.d.

I ran across this wee item in the archival collection of First Baptist Church when I was in the Archives a year or two ago researching another subject. I took a quick photo of this page and then forgot about it until I stumbled across it today.

There is no date associated with the ’10 Commandments’. I suspect that it was regularly reprinted, perhaps with updates, over several years, possibly as early as the 1930s and perhaps as late as the 1980s. I doubt that these commandments were distributed to ushers beyond the ’80s, however. Why? Mainly because of antiquated vocabulary. The periodic references to ‘strangers’, in particular. This was language that was understood (by longtime church members) to refer to non-members of the church. By the time we joined First Vancouver in 1991, strangers were referred to (arguably, less offensively) as ’adherents’. ’Strangers’ had probably been out of vogue in church language for some years before that.

I have never been a church usher, but these ‘commandments’ seem to me to speak of older ushers I have known who took their responsibilities very seriously. One who comes to mind is the late Mr. Lenfesty.

It would be nigh-unto impossible to enforce these rules in the loosie-goosie, do-what-you-like environment that has been present in church services in recent years.

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8 Responses to ’10 Commandments’ for Church Ushers

  1. Mark Weller says:

    I remember seeing this exact document when I worked at First Baptist c. 1992 – maybe it was on the wall in the janitorial “closet” which was a sort of office space / tool shed / archive of old keys.

  2. RKC says:

    How do you usher in a year of zoom services ?

  3. D R Maisey says:

    Got a kick out of this. Reminded me of Seymour Smith.

  4. lhhouben says:

    Oh those good old days of ushers! My Dad, Jack Williams, was an usher for years at the little church on the corner of Rupert and Kingsway (with the neon sign, Jesus the Light of the World). He loved his job and took it very seriously. He greeted all strangers (we had many in those long ago days) who would visit Vancouver and come off the #19 Kingsway bus just outside our church. He would give them a bulletin after shaking their hand heartily, and seat them at the back of the church, not the front. They all seemed to desire anonymity! I miss those dear days so much….thanks for this reminder.

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