“The altar is the center of the Christian Church. Around it the people of God gather to celebrate the mysteries of Christ’s body and blood. That sacrament, the Eucharist, along with our baptism, is what binds us to Christ. Whatever we do in the world to live out the Christian life -whether it be prayer, study, work for social justice, ministry to the sick, care of the dying, tending the needs of the poor, and the hungry — all Christian activities arise from the presence of Christ within us and that presence begins at a baptismal font, and gets renewed, and nourished at an altar.” National Altar Guild Association (NAGA)
At Grace, the Altar Guild is a ministry — a ministry of service. The members of the Altar Guild serve the Church under the direction of the Rector and are responsible for setting up and caring for the furnishings in the nave, sanctuary, and sacristy, as well as any other area of the church where special worship will take place.
The Altar Guild is responsible for tasks such as
- Preparing the altar
- Laying out the vestments and vessels for worship
- Setting the credence table with the elements (bread and wine) to be administered during communion
- Ordering and arranging the flowers for weekly Sunday worship, Christmas, Easter and special events.
- Laundering and ironing altar and worship linens, polishing brass and silver, filling candles and various other tasks.
- Ensuring the altar is dressed in the proper color of the day (frontal hanging, burse, etc.)
- Cleaning up after services and either preparing for another service or “closing down” for the day
The Altar Guild is a ministry of “quiet service”. It’s behind the scenes, but a most critical act of service to the church. The objective is the same for any weekly or special service: to make each service as perfect as possible.
A prayer used by many Episcopal Churches for Altar Guilds states the commitment this ministry makes to the church:
“Almighty God, 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 Christ our Lord. Amen”.
We encourage participation in this important ministry and we welcome all to join our “teams” who take pride in preparing all areas of our church for worship. All are welcome.