In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs in the Worship Service ceremonial duties such as carrying a processional cross or crucifix (these acolytes are called crucifers) and lighting and extinguishing ceremonial altar candles. In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.
The lighting of the altar candles in the Worship Service is a symbol of Jesus’ coming into the presence of the worshiping community. Before lighting the candles the acolyte may bow at the altar out of respect. Acolytes are known to wear robes called albs, sometimes with a cincture. It is also common for Methodist acolytes to wear the traditional cassock and cotta.
The ministry fosters commitment, devotion, responsibility and teamwork.