Sidesmen or Sidespersons, are the Churchwardens’ assistants. "Sidesman" is an ancient position in the Church of England. The Canon of the Church of England says the duty of Sidespersons is "to promote the cause of true religion in the parish and to assist the Churchwardens in the discharge of their duties in maintaining order and decency in the church and churchyard, especially in the time of divine service".
In practice, Sidespeople chiefly help the Churchwardens before, during and after worship by welcoming people as they enter the church, giving out hymn and service books, taking the collection, counting the collection and tidying up and putting everything back in its place after the service. They should keep a particular look out for new people and visitors to make sure they know their way around the church, understand the form of the service and introduce them to a few regular members of the congregation.
There is a rota and Sidespeople typically operate for one and the same service each month. People volunteer for this role and the list of Sidespeople has to be approved annually elected at the Annual Parochial Meeting, or in between APMs by the PCC.
Sidespeople must be on the Electoral Roll, and to be on the Roll you have to be over 16 and baptised.
It is good for Children and young people to share in some duties such as giving out books and taking up the Collection and may do so provided they are overseen by an appointed sidesperson. This is a good way of encouraging children, young people or whole families to take an active part in helping with the service.
We would very much welcome new offers to help in this way. If you would like to offer your services as a Sidesperson or would like to know more about the role please contact the Sidesperson's leader via the who we are page.