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Mother-daughter Team of Debbi and Alexis Gentry Share How Being an Acolyte Develops Leadership Skills.

By Kerry Baldwin


Debbi and Alexis Gentry have been members of the Our Saviour Acolytes for the past eight years. Debbi as an adult acoyte and now leader for the past year and a half and Alexis, who joined as a youth and who just recently graduated high school and matriculated at UNF.

When Alexis was in the 4th grade she remembers “I saw other kids doing it in church and I said I want to do that! I started off with the Kids Word banner. I did that for 2 years and moved up to banner and then torches for a few years. I always wanted to keep moving up - it was exciting!”

For Debbi, being an acolyte and leader has let her serve with many of Our Saviour’s youth over the years. “I like to watch the kids grow up. I used to teach Sunday School and so to watch some of those kids be able to carry the torches is a big deal. To watch the ones that were Alexis’ age that were just doing the banner and then torches and then the first crucifier, because some of the kids you never would have thought were that responsible but now they’re like adults. So it’s cool to watch the youth grow up.

There was a time when Debbi, Alexis and son, Ryan, served as acolytes together. “Sometimes the three of us would serve together. Alexis would be the first crucifier and Ryan and I would be the torch bearers. To me that was always really kind of special and cool to have our family doing that.”

Alexis agrees. “It’s cool doing stuff with your family and that was fun. It always puts a smile on your face to look over and see your family doing it with you.”

And how does Debbi feel to have been a part of this ministry with her daughter over the years? “It was great to do it with Alexis. To watch her grow up through it all and become a leader as well as some of the other kids that I’ve seen become leaders and then go off to college, it's a neat experience.”

And how does Alexis look back on her time as an acolyte? “I felt like being a part of it was special. I was doing something for the church and I love helping. It was always fun being a part of the service. I feel like it has made me a better person and helped me develop some skills like patience and being a leader because you are being a leader up there.”

Alexis may be off to university, but acolyting may still be in her future. “I think it’s been cool that I’ve been doing it for eight years and I can always, if we’re missing someone, step in and help. I feel very appreciated by everyone.”

Until then, Alexis talked about what it takes to be an acolyte: “Anybody can join. When the younger ones start out as banners and they move on to torches and see the first crucifers and how they’re acting and how they’re like leaders to the younger ones, they kind of want to be like them.”

Debbi recognizes the value that being an acolyte brings to the kids. “Being up there knowing all eyes are on them, helps them mature.”

If you are interested in finding out how you can get involved with the Acolytes, please contact the Ministries Coordinator at

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