This is not wedding ushering; an assembly usher doesn’t have to escort folks to their seats while wearing a tux. Ushers do, however, provide important support to the assembly’s work.
It should also be noted that the ushers form a team. It is often not necessary that all the ushers do everything together. The Ushers’ Chair (The Warden) may divide the work up so that ushers are not on duty at all times.
When the Chair announces the sealing of the chamber, the ushers seal the chamber. If there are doors, the ushers close them and stand guard. If there are no doors, the ushers stand in the portals (or other obvious points of egress). The ushers may let people leave, but they do not let people enter until the Chair orders the chamber unsealed.
The ushers make sure that voting members are before the bar of the assembly and non-voting members are behind the bar. The bar is a line the separates the two. This is important because the tellers have to know who to give ballots to.
At the request of the Elections Committee Chair, the ushers assist in the distribution and collection of ballots.
Distributing printed material
When necessary, ushers distribute written material to the attendees. This can either involve walking through the chamber and leaving stuff at people’s spots, giving a sufficient number to the folks at the ends of the pews, or standing at a portal and handing papers to those entering the chamber. It depends on what it is and when it is.
Prior to each meeting of the assembly, one or two ushers will be needed to direct voting members to sit before the bar and visitors behind the bar (unless an individual is granted a dispensation by the Chair or the Ushers’ Chair).
At the beginning of each meeting or whenever the assembly is about to resume business, the ushers direct people back to the chamber. This needs to be done after meals, breaks, and recesses.
At any point the assembly is in movement, e.g., breaking up for workshops, going to meals, going to worship, etc., the ushers position themselves such that they can direct people.
Safety and Security
Ushers also keep an eye open for dangers, be it a chair in doorway or a fire in the lobby. If it is a simple safety fix, e.g., moving that chair out of the path of egress so that no one trips over it, the usher takes care of it. Major problems should be brought to the attention of the the Ushers’ Chair.
If an emergency takes place, ushers help clear the area and any egresses so that emergency personnel can gain access quickly.
Other duties as assigned
The catchall! Ushers may be called upon to assist with all manner of things.
We don’t always have pages, but we sometimes get lucky. Pages are assembly staff (not voting members) who assists the officers, committee chairs, and office with communications, i.e., they deliver messages and documents.