Ministry Spotlight: Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEM)

MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT is an addition to our Announcements, Blog, and Facebook page. Please feel free to contact me about a ministry you are involved in. Remember ministries are not only through the Cathedral. You may be sharing your spiritual gifts with ministries outside the Cathedral, (such as Hands Up Food Pantry or Uptown Faith). To Spotlight your ministry please email Vicki Hoppenrath at

Today’s spotlight is on Joanna Airhart, LEM

Describe your Ministry.
 A Eucharistic Minister is a layperson that takes Communion to a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral who, through illness or recuperation, is unable to come to church. The Eucharistic Ministers go in pairs. There is a class and an apprentice (shadow) period when you attend visits with trained EM’s. A calendar notifies you and a partner of the day your Eucharistic Ministry. The week before your visit you receive an email informing you of the person you are to visit. You then contact that person and set up the time for Sunday after the 8:00 or 10:30 service.

What have you learned about yourself through your ministry? 
I have learned that even though I am not ordained that I can bring Jesus to a person that hungers for the Eucharist. I do many things at St. Paul’s but this ministry brings me the closest to Christ.

Have you seen Jesus through your ministry? 
I do see and feel Jesus at the end of the service when I carry the consecrated Bread and Wine from the altar, down the steps, out through the congregation to the Baptismal font and out through the doors. As I walk up the aisle I don’t see the congregation, I look at the Rose Window and think about this honor I was given. I feel the sacred responsibility of carrying the Eucharist to a person who cannot come to church. I always tell the person I visit that he/she was prayed for at the end of the service and that they are a very special addition to our congregation.

What is the biggest secret about your ministry?
The biggest secret about this ministry is you walk away feeling you have received even more than the person you have just visited.

What is the time commitment? 
 The time commitment is short. In advance of the visit, you phone your person. Before your Sunday service you check in with the head verger. After the Post-Communion prayer, the priest prays for you and the person you will visit. You take the Communion Kit and walk out of the church. You and your partner drive to the person’s house. You have a very short service. After the reading of the Gospel you retell the sermon (I always take notes during the sermon). The Bread and Wine are shared. Your visit is now over. You or your partner delivers the Communion Kit back to the sacristy. This Ministry only takes an hour after a Sunday service.

Why would you recommend your ministry to another person?
 I recommend the Eucharistic Ministry to another person who is firm in their faith who is ready to visibly share Christ’s love.

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