What Are the 18 Hand Signals Used by Ushers in Church?

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One of the 18 hand signals used by ushers in church is called the service position, which an usher takes when he enters the sanctuary. The greeting signal is an open right hand used to greet congregants.

The service position is the left hand behind the usher’s back and his right hand straight at his right side. The attention signal is to alert other ushers to pay attention for the next set of signals. In this position, the usher places his right hand over his tie. An usher signals prayer by crossing his right arm over his left, with each hand touching the opposite elbow. When it is time for the ushers to assume their stations, the lead usher moves his right hand in an arc from his left cheek to his right hip, which is also the signal for asking how many chairs are available in a row.

When an usher needs something specific, such as relief, programs, envelopes or fans, the usher assumes the attention signal and points a corresponding number of fingers for the request over her blazer lapel. Ushers who are responsible for managing the doorway to the sanctuary use signals behind their back to alert congregants in the lobby about what is happening in the service. When an usher is in distress, she places her hands over her ears, moves her hands behind her neck and down her torso in an hourglass shape. The lead usher gives the offering signal with flat hands palm down.