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Published by SolihullParish, 2020-02-05 05:58:37

St Alphege Sideman Duty Guidelines Feb 2020

Guidelines for Sideman at St Alphege

Keywords: Sideman Guidelines



St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 1
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017


Sidesmen assist the “duty warden” by carrying out practical tasks at church services. The role of
“duty warden” does not necessarily have to be undertaken by a Deputy Church Warden but it is the
responsibility of the Deputy Church Warden to appoint a “duty warden” for each of the Sunday

Sidesmen are also ministers of welcome and should demonstrate this by offering a
warm greeting and welcoming smile to everybody as they arrive at church.

The list of Sidesmen is reviewed annually and approved at the annual general meeting of the St.
Alphege DCC. Sidesmen must be on the electoral roll.

Remember: No one should go out from St Alphege without feeling welcome

General Notes
A team is formed for each of the Sunday services, with the first named on the rota being the
“senior (lead) Sidesman” who is responsible for duties for individuals and obtaining help or
instruction from the duty warden.

0800 2 Sidesman ]
0915 4 sideman ] ideal numbers required excluding ”the duty warden”
1100 4 Sidesman ]
1830 2 Sidesman ]

In addition it is the responsibility of the senior (lead) Sidesman to ensure that at the end of the
service all the pews and north door table have been tidied and cleared in readiness for the next

The “duty warden” has overall responsibility for the smooth running of the service.

The recommendation is for the lead Sidesman to arrive in church 30 minutes before the start of the
09.15 and 11.00 service. The other Sidesmen should arrive at least 20 minutes before the start of
both 09.15 and 11.00. It is sufficient for the Lead Sidesman to arrive 15 minutes before 0800
service and 15 minutes before 18.30 Evensong.

NB It is accepted that overlap may occur by arriving 30 mins before 1100 service if Sidesmen are
still clearing up after any ‘extended’ 0915 service. In some cases it may be helpful to assist the
9.15 Sidesmen to clear up.

It is the responsibility of Sidesman unable to attend their service to seek a replacement from the
list of Sidesmen; if unsuccessful, they should advise the relevant senior (lead) Sidesman of their

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 2
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017


To undertake such reasonable duties as delegated by the lead Sidesman/Duty Warden.

No more than 2 Sidesmen should stand in the aisle at the North Door in order to avoid
congestion – (this is particularly important at 0915)

Be prepared to direct late comers where to sit (particularly at 0915) when the back rows have
been roped off. (They may need help in finding somewhere to sit as people naturally gravitate
towards the back and then we potentially lose Junction space; there are often spaces towards
the front).

If gluten free wafers are requested, please inform the verger immediately before the service
begins so that he can inform the priest of the requirements. (There is a sticky label (dot) which
the communicant places on their right hand in order that the priest administering the wafer is
aware they require a GF wafer. A supply of sticky dots is kept in the warden stalls. When
there are two administration points the person is requested to go to the left hand administration
point as this is where the GF wafers will be.)

All Sidesmen must be aware of any health and safety requirement, i.e.
• Keeping aisles clear in case of emergency.
• Fire extinguishers are available throughout the church building. See plan highlighting
positions on the notice board by North door.
• Foam :
• West door, Chapel of St Thomas, Sacristy, The Tower Crossing, Crypt Chapel and Vestry
• CO2 :
• West door and by the organ
• In addition, 2 foam extinguishers situated in the bell tower;
• 1 foam and 1 CO2 extinguisher in the choir school.
• Fire exit doors:
• West door, North door, Sacristy clergy door, vestry outer door by verger office.

• Should anyone feel unwell, water and paper cups are available in the rear
churchwardens’ pew. Other medical emergencies may require urgent attention – contact
the verger in the first instance who will be able to contact the emergency services. There
is often a person with medical experience in the congregation who can be alerted if
• If the chairs at the back of church are deployed they must be replaced on the stacker all
facing the correct way round and secured safely using the strapping.

Summary of Duties:
• Collate service booklets with pewslips.
• Hand out booklet and pewslip as people arrive - either inside the porch or, when the
weather allows, these should be distributed outside the porch to leave room free for people
to be greeted again inside. This will help improve access and reduce the sense of “running
the gauntlet” of Sidesmen (especially at 09.15)

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 3
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017

• One Sidesman should be responsible for using the clicker(s) to count the congregation as
they arrive. Two clickers are used, one for adults and one for under 16 years, so that
numbers attending can be entered in the book kept in the churchwardens’ pew. This is the
responsibility of the lead Sidesman. The person with the clicker should ideally stand at the
crossing in front of the offertory table especially when the West door may be open on a
summer day. Alternatively the person with the clicker can sit in the front pew by North door.

NB: Do not add any extra numbers to the clicker for the choir members/altar party as the
verger will make the necessary adjustment to the estimated number of communicants.
(It is acknowledged that people may arrive after the clicker has been handed to the verger –
the verger allows for any discrepancy when allocating the communion wafers.)

• Before the service begins always ensure that the Reader(s), Intercessor and Offertory
procession team are present by checking the details on the pewslip. The “duty warden” will
need to be informed if there is a problem.

• Once the service has started, one Sidesman should sit in the front row by North door to look
after any latecomers and hand out books/pewslips etc. It is also good practice for one
person be sited near the west door particularly during communion in the unlikely event of
“people trying to gain access” through that door.

• North door to remain open until the Gospel procession begins. (Glass outer doors can be

• Collection – the lead Sidesman to organise a team of 4 or 6 people (depending on numbers
in church)

• Provide retiring collection plate holder(s) at both North and West doors if required on special

• Marshalling – the lead Sidesman to organise a team of up to 4 – to direct the congregation
from pews to the priest for receiving Holy Communion

• Communion – Sidesmen marshalling communicants should ensure a steady flow of people to
each point where communion is being distributed. Members of the congregation should leave
their pews, starting at the front and go to the distribution point, returning to their seats down
the side aisles. Where a pillar blocks progress from the side pews, the people should follow
those leaving from the pew in front.
• When two host administration points and four chalice assistants are used, provide two
additional Sidesmen at top of aisle (on either side) to direct communicants to available
chalice assistant
• At end of service wait until the majority of the congregation have departed before tidying
up. All pews need to be checked for abandoned service booklets, pewslips, rubbish, lost
items. etc. Place any lost items on the table by the North door. Only leave when you are
satisfied that everything is how you would wish to find it.

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 4
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017

Specific Duties for Sidesmen at 0800

• The clicker to be handed to the server immediately prior to the collection being undertaken

Specific Duties for Sidesmen at 09.15

• As soon as the service begins and the altar party begin to process, the Sidesman with the
clicker(s) needs to be waiting just inside the North door entrance to hand the clicker(s) to
the verger as he processes past. Should the altar party enter through the West door stand
at the crossing to present the clicker(s)

• Rope off rear three rows of pews each side of central aisle and the outside aisles for the
Junction congregation from the OBH. Place laminated reserved notices (12) at each end of
the pews.

• If the benches have been used at the back of church please ensure they are replaced
against the rear pew(s) at the end of the service.

• Ensure West door is open for procession of altar party and choir.
• Reserve two front rows of pews for choir.
• Place a “reserved for offertory” sign on the pew immediately behind the offertory table.
• Two tables to be placed against the front of the first row of pews, one on either side
• All “reserved” signs can be found in the warden stall to the right facing the West door
• Additional chairs to be made available/put out should they be necessary at back of church -

these must be put back in the stacker during the clear up after the service and secured
properly to conform to health and safety requirements.

• I understand there has been some confusion recently in the timing of handing over the clickers to the
altar party. The practice of giving them to Paul the Verger during the procession is to stop and instead
the clickers should be taken up to the altar at the same time as the OFFERTORY because often people
come in late and we are NOT getting accurate numbers being put in the service book.

• Therefore It is important for the sidesman who is responsible for clicking the numbers to remain near

the door during the service in order that any latecomers can be “clicked in”. Once the sharing of the
peace takes place, the clickers can be given to the offertory team so they can hand them to one of the
altar party at the same time as the bread and wine.

• One Sidesman to go to OBH at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer to give 10 minute
warning to Junction leaders to prepare themselves to come to church to receive Holy

• Ensure West Doors are opened at 1000 hours (approximately) to allow members of the
Junction to enter the church building and move Baptism candle onto wooden step in front of
font. Remember to replace Baptism candle in previous position at the end of the service.

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 5
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017

Specific Duties for Sidesmen at 11.00

• If the verger is acting as crucifer or thurifer he/she will be unable to take clicker, so make
sure the person with the clicker is by the North door or crossing depending on which way
the altar party processes. The procession is more often through the West door, so the
clicker can be handed to an appropriate member of the altar party as they pass. If it is not
possible to hand the clicker to the processing party the verger will come to collect it during
the exchanging of the Peace.

• The West door needs to remain “off the latch” in order that latecomers and those in mobility
scooters can obtain easy access. ( a note to that effect will be placed on the West door)

• Communion is received at the high altar. Once the clergy and altar party have received, the
choir will then proceed to the altar for communion. As soon as the choir members have
received the congregation need to follow immediately to the high altar to ensure a smooth
flow of people.

Specific Duties for Sidesmen at Evensong

• The congregation will generally be asked to sit in the choir stalls (unless a major service)
after the choir have finished any practice. The sidesman on duty should direct and if
necessary physically take people to the far end stalls by the high altar.

• Provide service leaflet (book); prayer book, and pew slip to each attendee
• Ensure all the above are returned to correct places(s)after the service
• Probably only one Sidesman will be required to undertake the collection.

One point to highlight is concerning the arrival of young families at the 9.15 service. It is important
to welcome them into the main church building whilst at the same time offering them the
opportunity of joining our other young families in the OBH for the Junction. You should mention
that they are welcome to stay in church but that everybody from the Junction will return to church
for Holy Communion. Please be aware that it may be their first visit and you may need to show
them the way if they are unsure where to go.

Remember welcome extends beyond church - Free copies of the Parish Magazine may be offered to
those newcomers who would welcome them. Offer newcomers the facility of coffee, squash and
biscuits in the OBH after the 9.15 service

At other festivals or major services which you may attend, please volunteer your services or feel
free to act as a Sidesman if no one else is present.

Thank you for all you do; it is much appreciated by the Verger, Clergy, Wardens and Congregation

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) Linda LaRoche
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017 0121 704 2282

page 6


Accidents and First Aid:
First aid boxes and accident reporting book are located in the kitchen area via the Vestry
There are usually medically qualified people and trained first aiders across the congregations
A list of names of first aiders will be included in the “emergency box”. This box also contains high visibility jacket(s) and
torches. One box will be located in the warden stall and the other under the north door table.
Fire Safety:
Fire extinguishers are available throughout the church building. (See attached plan for positions)
Foam :
West door, Chapel of St Thomas, Sacristy, The Tower Crossing, Crypt Chapel and Vestry
CO2 :
West door and by the organ
In addition, 2 foam extinguishers situated in the bell tower;

1 foam and 1 CO2 extinguisher in the choir school.
Fire exit doors:
West Door, North Door, Outer door accessed through the Vestry, Rear (clergy) door accessed through the Sacristy.
Evacuation Procedure
For large services and concerts where the congregation exceeds 300 or audience comprises non-church members our
procedures for stewarding/evacuation are as follows:

• All designated fire doors must be unlocked before the service/event commences and be clearly marked as fire


• A check must be made to ensure that all doors can be opened.

• A trained steward must be allocated to each door and have responsibility for persons in a specific part of the


Nave east of central crossing – North door
Nave west of central crossing – West door
Chancel - Vestry door/ Rear door accessed through the sacristy.

• Assembly point is in the area between the church building and Oliver Bird Hall

• Responsibility for using each fire extinguisher will be allotted to named and trained stewards.
• Although we have emergency lighting, torches are available located in the “emergency box” kept in the warden

stall and under the north door table.
• In the event of an emergency (fire/bomb threat etc) an announcement to leave the building will be made by one

of the clergy or warden on duty.
• Emergency services will be contacted immediately by a nominated person using a mobile phone
• There is an emergency button located on the left hand side at the entrance to St Catherine’s chapel which alerts

the bell ringers in the tower which is linked to a flashing light.

If you discover a fire no matter how small:
Immediately raise the alarm; Telephone the emergency services; Check the building for occupants
Tackle the fire if possible and within your capability using the appliances provided but without taking personal risk
If not possible to tackle the fire or if you are unsure which fire extinguisher to use, assist in the evacuation of the building
ensuring that all doors are closed behind you. The general rule is people before property.
Evacuate to the designated assembly point and ensure clear access for the emergency vehicle.

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 7
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017

The original emergency torch remains in the box on the floor in the Wardens pews (south side one)
at the west doors. I note that there is also a small first aid container here as well. The new torches
are positioned as follows

(1) In the Sacristy on top of the shelf on the east side next to the cupboard containing the safe.
(2) In the choir vestry on top of the alter frontals cabinet on the end nearest the door into the church
tower area
(3) In the sink/lobby area on the top shelf of the wall cupboard on the right hand side

Please make sure you know where these are and at some stage can you please let any "senior"
sidesmen know for each service and also perhaps the church guides?

Dated December 2017 Review Date

St Alphege Parish Church – Sidesman Duties [edition 5] ( updated FEBRUARY 2020) page 8
Updated to include health and safety specifics November 2017

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