The All Saints’ Altar Guild serves the ancient and sacred function of preparing the altar for Holy Communion at each service, to the worship and glory of God. Our models are the Myrrh-bearing Women who came to the tomb to lovingly prepare the body of our Lord for burial. (Mark 16:1, Luke 23:55-24:1)
Members serve on a rotating schedule, usually in pairs. Currently, we do not have enough members so that a pair could serve only once a month. The more members we have, the less frequently each person has to serve in the rotation.
Altar set-up for Sundays is performed in the window between the last Friday service (usually noon but occasionally later) and the first Sunday service (usually 8:00 am). This usually means on the Saturday, at a time agreed upon by the members serving that week (often in the morning). Other services are covered on a volunteer basis.
Duties normally require 30-40 minutes to complete for a pair, an hour or so if you are by yourself. Training is provided, and new members typically serve an apprenticeship with an existing member until they feel comfortable working without direction. (Duties do not include flower arranging: we have an excellent florist who prepares our flowers for us.)
In addition to regularly scheduled shifts, all members who are able generally gather to prepare together for high holy days, such as at the Greening of the Church at Christmas, preparing palms for Palm Sunday, decorating for Easter on Holy Saturday, etc. This is usually a time of great fellowship and fun that adds a wonderful dimension to the celebration of these holidays!
All interested women age 16 and up are welcome to join, and we encourage mothers to bring along their young children, who can often be a great help with the dusting, among other things! This can be a great time to acquaint young ones with the accoutrements of the sanctuary and begin to instill reverence for the things of God through gentle service with mom in a friendly, relaxed environment.
Finally, service on the Altar Guild is not just a job but a prayer in itself. It is not only an active ministry in the parish, but can also be a wonderful contemplative break — dedicated time for your spirit to rest in the presence of God. When undertaken in this spirit, the duties of caring for the altar become precious and something almost all members come to look forward to.
grant we beseech Thee,
that we may handle Holy things with reverence,
and perform our work with such
faithfulness and devotion
that it may rise with acceptance
before Thee and obtain Thy blessing;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dora Cox, Chairperson