Who cleaned and prepared the room and meal for Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper? Who washed the dishes after the whole group departed for the Garden of Gethsemane? These delightful comparisons came from St. Mark’s parish and we’ll agree that we don’t think of the person (or people) who performed these tasks as founders of altar guilds…but maybe we should!
Saint Paul’s Altar Guild serves to ensure the Holy Eucharist is celebrated a minimum of three times a week. This “behind-the-scenes” work is performed by teams of four or five who scrub, polish, organize elements, vessels, linens and paraments each Saturday morning for Sunday and Wednesday services. The Altar Guild works very closely with Clergy, Lay Ministry, Ushers and Acolytes. The Linen Committee, Flower Guild and Wedding Guild, who contribute time and talent, are also vital to this ministry.
So why do we do what we do? It’s not exciting or glamorous yet most of us have been part of the guild ‘forever.’ Soleta Baird, Sylvia Mayson, and Connor Smith all began in 1962. Minta Nixon has cared for linens for 47 years. Genie Lehman, who served on the Altar Guild for a record 63 years put it best, “Don’t ever think of this as ‘work’. Altar guild service is an honor and a privilege.” Being on the altar guild enhances and deepens your own Eucharistic experience. We make every effort to ensure the altar remains pristine and honored as the center of our worship.
The Linen Guild works with the Altar Guild caring for the linens used during worship services. Members wash and iron the linens. All work is done at home and then returned to the church. These beautiful and fragile linens are protected and lovingly cared for by this dedicated team. If you love working with beautiful linens, the Linen Committee needs you! Each member serves for one month, about four times a year and training is offered.