Ministering at the altar

Christ comes to us in many ways. One is in the silence of worship, speaking to faithful people in the deepest parts of the hearts. In the Episcopal Church, we believe that Christ is really present in the consecrated bread and wine. Christ is also silently present in our worship spaces in bread and wine. When you enter an Episcopal church and see a light (usually red) near or behind the altar, this is an indication the consecrated sacrament is being “reserved” (reverently stored for future use). This is why we bow in reverence in the altar area, not to the altar, but in reverence to the silent presence of Christ.

Whether in the Altar Guild preparing for worship or serving a chalice, those who minister at the altar stand in the silent yet powerful presence of Christ. Many people have talked about how they are moved in their spirits by handling these holy articles, and how it is a deep touchstone for their faith. Something of the stillness and wonder and sense of the mystery of Christ’s last meal with his disciples reaches across the centuries. Loving grace is given in response to loving service.

The ministries of lector (people who read Holy Scripture), intercessor (people who offer prayers on behalf of others) and choir member (those who lead us in singing and musical praise), would seem to be at the opposite end of silence. And yet, it is silence, between words, between notes, that allows us to understand and take deeply into our hearts, what is spoken or sung. 

One person said you don’t volunteer, you embrace this ministry. You are enfolded in Christ’s love as you prepare the altar, lead others in worship and song and serve the sacrament. 

If you would like to embrace any of these ministries, please contact:

  • Al Bonnyman: Chalice Bearers, Lectors, Intercessors
  • Brian Sapp-More: Choir of All Saints’, Resurrection Choir, Bells of All Saints’, Junior Choir and the St. Nicholas Choir
  • Brenda Trott: Altar Guild