The St. Thomas Altar Guild
Serving on the Altar Guild is being part of a service ministry. We serve our Lord, the clergy and you, the congregation. We prepare the Sanctuary and the Altar for every church service, be it a Sunday service or a weekday service, a wedding, a funeral or any other special service. We prepare the holy items that are used during the worship service. We set the Lord’s table for holy communion. We connect with our Lord through our service to him and you.
The Altar Guild readies the church behind the scenes so that all of us can conveniently participate in the worship services, Eucharists and sacraments. The Altar Guild is here to set the table for God’s visit and for our gifts to him. The clergy and the congregation do not have to worry about things like finding the wine, bread, water, the Gospel, the altar book, the linens, the candles, the vestments and so on. All of us can concentrate on the Liturgy.
Serving on the Altar Guild is a spiritual experience. It is a connection to the liturgy and the Eucharist. Let me share a personal example with you. When I first became a member of the Altar Guild ten years ago, my thoughts were about doing everything correctly and perfectly. I was told that I was setting God’s table and remember – that is an awesome task, so do it right! Somewhere along the way those thoughts became secondary. I still wanted to do things correctly and perfectly, but I began to realize the deep significance of setting the Lord’s table for him and the congregation. I began to understand and internalize the significant connection that the preparation of the Church has with the Liturgy and the Eucharist.
Walking into the Church for a Sunday service, especially after the Altar Guild members have spent a Saturday morning preparing the Church’s worship area, is a calming, joyful and very humbling experience. It prepares the soul for the service.
Seeing the altar in all its beauty, seeing the beautiful frontal filled with meaning and tradition, the chalice perfectly veiled, the linens carefully pressed, the lovely flowers flanking the tabernacle, the candles standing tall with their flickering flames, and the wine and bread ready for the Eucharist: these are the things that fill the hearts of the Altar Guild members with reverence and humility.
The feelings created by preparing the Church for you and our Lord, are what make the Altar Guild a gratifying ministry for all of us who serve as members.
Ministering through service, reverence and humility – that is what the Altar Guild is all about.
Thank you, Altar Guild members for your faithful service. And, Thanks be to God. Amen.
by Bob Harberts