First United Methodist Church
Thursday, January 19, 2017
FEED THE NEED Putting our faith into motion by feeding the body, mind and soul
As I have been doing for several months, I continue my exploration of the worship leadership team. I do so both as a way to express appreciation to those who fulfill these ministries in our midst, and to encourage others to “join the team.” Having just experienced the joy of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, and having been treated to yet another stunning and highly symbolic altar display, this month’s article will focus on the Altar Guild.
It was not until I entered seminary that I really learned about the ministry of the Altar Guild. Though not always known by that name, essentially these are people whose ministry is to prepare the chancel and altar space for Christian worship.
This typically includes:
-Making sure the area is neat and clean
-Changing paraments (altar cloths) so that the colors match the seasons of the church year (Pentecost=red; Easter, Christmas, and communion=white; Advent and Lent=Purple; Kingdomtide, or the seasons between all the
-Polishing the brass and silver
-Decorating seasonally or thematically
-Making sure altar flowers are set
For as long as I can remember going to church, people have made it their duty to make sure the altar space was cared for. I never understood what an important calling that is, and about how passionate people can be about fulfilling that call. Over the years I have been in ministry I have learned to appreciate, and celebrate that ministry. I do so not because it makes my life easier, though it does, but because I have experienced first-hand how people are drawn into the worship experience, and nearer to God, through visual art and symbolism.
Not long after I arrived at FUMC, I encouraged the members of our Altar Guild to be as creative as they were led to be, to allow the Spirit to move them, to think outside of the box. They have, and I am truly grateful! The contrasts between the simple and the elaborate, the colorful and the plain, and the theological and the practical have inspired me many times over; as I am sure they have you as well.
Please join me in thanking our Altar Guild members, and chairpersons Debbie Boynton, Lorrie (and Sam) Tweedy whenever you get a chance. And if you feel that God is tugging at your heart to use your gifts in ministry like this, let me know. I’d love to help you serve!
Stay tuned for more…
Peace and love,