Sunday, March 3rd Altar Guild Chat
I am Kris Hatch, a long time member of St. Paul’s and a Sacristan on Altar Guild.
Mary, Martha and Lazereth of Bethany were siblings. In Luke 10, Mary sat with the followers to listen to Jesus and was known as a disciple. Martha, more concerned with service, was distracted with many tasks and realized that she was missing Jesus’ talk. Calling herself out as a classic codependent/passive aggressive, Martha blamed Mary for leaving all the work to her. Who would ever want to be Martha that day? At times, how many of us slip into her role in our own ministries of service at St. Paul’s?
In the Benedictine rule, we are asked to “Seek God in the most simple and ordinary experiences of daily living.” Our personal, spiritual gifts are given by God and the Holy Spirit. In Sunday School, we sang that we should not “hide our light under a bushel, but let it shine.” We can experience both spiritual and physical gifts without become a “Martha.” That could mean that our tangible skills can be gifts of the Spirit and part of any ministry in this place, for you, Christ’s honored guests.
Over the years, I was approached a number of times to join Altar Guilds, but refused because in my mind, I would never want to become Martha and miss out on the action! However, a number of years later, my dear husband, Wayne was on Chapter and Konnie Dadmun asked if anyone knew of possible candidates for Altar Guild. Wayne mentioned this to me and without thinking, I said I might like to try that. Now, with a number of very talented people who bring their own spiritual gifts, I bring my own gifts as I sew and embroider linens and bake gluten free wafers with for any who enter this holy space. But there is so much more.
The men and women serving as sacristans for St. Paul’s Altar Guild bring their gifts of time and amazing talents. We have members with skills of organization, attention to detail, polishing, candle maintenance, cleaning, and vestment care. We work on monthly teams for one weekend each month and volunteer for special services, weekday noon and Saturday evening Eucharists. We also prepare the space and altar area, then attend services. Noon sacristans also serve the priest. A few times each year, we are all invited to prepare for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. Sacristans prepare for Zydeco, Ash Wednesday services and ‘Ashes to Go” We cut and clean palms, cover every cross in the church for Holy Week with the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and morning. We decorate for Christmas and polish silver and brass at least 3 times a year. We live the liturgical calendar and make it visual for this community
In any ministry, members care for each other as well and the entire community. Altar Guild members stay in touch, share life events and care deeply for each other through encouragement and prayer.
We welcome anyone with hands and hearts seeking community through service in the body of Christ’s church. When you enter this Holy space and look around from the oblation table and baptismal font in the back of the church to the pews, pulpit, Altar rail, Altar, credence table, and candles, know that unlike Martha, we have prepared for you to hear God’s word and share Christ’s banquet. Please know that the table is ready and the gifts of God are here, just for you.