peachtree road storybook

Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done, so that people not yet born will praise him. – Psalms 102:18

The Legacy of Ushering at Peachtree Road

By Marcia Gaddis

Every Sunday, and at every service, Peachtree Road is blessed to have ushers who welcome, direct, and offer bulletins to those entering the Sanctuary or Moore Chapel to worship. Not only do these volunteers greet, but they collect the offerings and assist with communion.

Through the years families have often shared the duty and privilege of serving together. Storybook could highlight many family teams such as John and Ray Perner and Tommy and Obie Powell. James Respess, Sr. set a fine example for his son, James Respess, Jr., and today, his daughter Anne has served with her husband, Floyd Steward, since 2007.

In this story, we remember with gratitude Clyde Kennedy and his son, Dan.

Clyde and Dan Kennedy

Clyde Kennedy started attending Peachtree Road in 1931 and became an official member in 1943. Clyde was involved in youth activities at the church and remembers his first volunteer commitment was teaching a sixth-grade Sunday School class when he was a freshman at Georgia Tech.

Clyde loved being on the Usher Teams at Peachtree Road, serving on the fourth Sunday of the month with his son, Dan. He encouraged others to get involved and said this about volunteering, “Once you begin volunteering, you feel a certain sense of belonging to your church. A church relies on its members to give it life, so when you volunteer, you are contributing to the prosperity of your church. All anyone must do is open their eyes to the needs of the church. There is a job for everyone.”

Clyde was an active Sunday School teacher and he often spoke about the service of ushering as a teaching topic.

Below, read his lesson “Usher Tradition”, based on the Psalm 84:10 which says, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of the wicked.”

Clyde and Dan Kennedy

“Usher Tradition”

“When God through Moses had delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai, God chose the tribe of Levi for a special service. The Levites were singled out and purified to serve the portable sanctuary where their priests led worship for the Israelite people.

During the forty-year trek to the Promised Land the Levites assembled and disassembled the holy tent and its contents, carried them as they traveled and prepared new sites. The Levites camped around the holy place as an inner line of defense. They assisted the priests during services and sacrifices. Some of them served as singers and musicians.

In our Sanctuary today ushers as well as The Altar Guild, Acolytes, and choir members serve as descendants of the ancient Levitical priestly tribe. You are chosen, trained, and entrusted with facilitating and preserving the joy and reverence of our worship services.

As heirs of the Levitical tradition, you have been chosen not for privilege or recognition but for service to others. Though you have routine duties in distributing bulletins or collecting offerings, your most important function is representing Jesus Christ and his church by standing erect, making eye contact, and welcoming all, particularly those with special needs.

The Usher job does not end with the processional hymn but continues until the latest worshiper is greeting and comfortably seated.

In the Levitical tradition you also inherit responsibility for reverence and effectiveness of worship services. Be ready to greet all who come and assist them in being seated rather than ignoring them while chatting with others in the Narthex. Inside the Sanctuary direct early worshipers to the front rows where they can see and hear best. Don’t be afraid to ask people to move over to provide seats for others. Young couples with infants need seating at the end of the rows.

Finally use your priestly authority to politely ask people not to bring food or beverages into the Sanctuary and to remove hats and to turn off cell phones. More seriously, you should learn the locations of the first aid equipment, fire extinguishers, exits, and restrooms.

Several of you are sales professionals. As Ushers, you are the face of the church, our salespersons. It is your job to be approachable and welcoming because we are selling the best product in creation.”