The Diocese of Southeast Florida was well represented at the 27th Annual National Acolyte Festival, Saturday, Oct. 7 at Washington National Cathedral Acolytes from the Church of the Incarnation, Miami; St. Anne’s, Hallandale; St. Kevin’s, Opa-locka; Church of the Transfiguration, Miami Gardens; and Trinity Cathedral showed up and blew out the other churches. Bishop John Crane of Washington, his wife, the cathedral staff and other acolytes were impressed and amazed by the shifts and moves St. Anne dished out and also by our new step (we call it the “kick”) taught by our Acolyte Master, Maceo Brown.

All of the acolytes from the Diocese of Southeast Florida were proud when many of our own either participated in the service or received special awards from Bishop Crane. Before the service began, Canon Carol Wade personally asked Mr. Brown to be a chalice bearer. The Epistle was read — in Spanish — by Michelle Khan from Trinity Cathedral. Jared Parker, age 4, from Church of the Transfiguration was recognized as being the youngest acolyte to attend the Festival. Bishop Crane also made sure to have us take his special greeting to his good friend, Bishop Leo Frade.
St. Anne’s acolytes wore double cinctures, red and white. Some of the other acolytes asked about the meaning of two cinctures. We told them that we are double-bound to Christ: Red is for the Holy Spirit, and white is the presence of all colors. Canon Eugene Sutton of the National Cathedral commented that he liked this.

We carried new torches that were blessed by our priest-in-charge, Fr. John Jarrett, III. We blinded the other churches with our thuribles, boats, processional crosses and our new torches. All of the workshops were very interesting. We learned some new things and we were proud that there was a lot that we already knew. Even though we were tired, we still listened and learned.  The acolytes also had our own workshop — the gift shop! You might laugh, but the gift shop had many things that could teach about Christ. It even had one of the 11 copies of a special Holy Bible. The book was huge! The next day we worshiped with St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, whose acolytes have participated in the Festival every year for 27 years. Then we went on with the rest of our tour. We had front row seats at Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We then went back to the hotel and had a party in room 219.

Most of the kids in the room were new acolytes.  This was St Anne’s fourth consecutive yearat the National Acolyte Festival. 42 people from our parish who went, 19 of them were acolytes, the most ever. We would like to thank Everett Neely, Edith Newbold and Dr. Lisa Davenport for helping us raise the money we needed for the trip. We would also like to thank Mr. Brown for making us come on Saturdays for practice. Next, we would like to thank the church family and the parents who went with us to the Festival for sticking with us for the whole trip and praying for us. Last, we would like to thank Lenora Banks and her mom, Doris Newton, for getting us the backpacks and the two shirts.

The acolytes of St. Anne’s will be ready for next year, when we, once again — for the fifth time — will make everyone in the Diocese of Southeast Florida proud.

The preceding article was submitted by David Davenport