What is the Altar
The Altar Guild is the
liturgical partner of the Priest. As one Altar Guild manual puts
it, "We are the ones chosen to prepare for the meeting of
the people with God." (Working Manual for Altar Guilds, Dorothy
We care for the objects
used in worship. We handle them carefully and respectfully, because
these objects have been dedicated in prayer for use in worship
for the glory of God.
We also care for the
sanctuary of the church. The work of the Altar Guild is to ensure
that our sanctuary reflects the holiness and the joy that we all
create together in our worship.
The Altar Guild is not
a social group. We don't have pot lucks, we seldom have meetings.
We are not involved in the business of the church. We don't take
votes or make momentous decisions. Most of what we do is invisible
to the congregation, and is meant to be that way. The work we
do facilitates and enhances our worship and particularly the Eucharist
and should never distract from it.
The rewards of serving
on the Altar Guild
The members of the Altar
Guild are part of an unbroken tradition reaching back to the faithful
women who provided for Jesus during his lifetime. (Mark 15: 40-41;
Matthew 27:55). We follow our patron saint, Martha, partly because
of her practical life of active service, yet also because she
was among the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah (John 11:7-29).
Joining the Altar Guild
means learning many fascinating aspects of Church tradition, including
the esoteric names for all the various vessels, vestments, linens
and paraments we use in worship.
Most importantly, serving
on the Altar Guild is a spiritual exercise. Caring for the Altar
is a way to act out our relationship with God. It is quiet, prayerful
How to join the Altar
While Altar Guilds can
trace their roots to the women who cared for Jesus, at various
times in the history of the Anglican Church Altar Guilds have
been composed exclusively of men or exclusively of women. Today,
anyone can be a member of the Altar Guild. Anyone, men or women,
young or old, may have a vocation for Altar Guild service.
You don't have to have
any experience to join the Altar Guild. Your training will consist
of hands on instruction from experienced Altar Guild members,
plus some background reading.
If you are interested
in exploring Altar Guild service, please contact Brenda Wood
at (707) 476-9221 or leave her a note in the Altar Guild mailbox
in the church office.