In the sixteenth century in the Church of England, the care of the altar was given only to the ordained clergy. Years later laymen became sacristans, in charge of the sacristy where communion vessels and vestments are kept. By the nineteenth century women were included in this ministry as assistants to sacristans. In the twentieth century, women were beginning to organize into Altar Guilds and assumed the sacristan’s duties all together. Until the 1970’s being on the Altar Guild was the only way women could serve God at the altar. As Rev. Nancy Shier reminded us on Sunday in her sermon, women were not seen at the pulpit or at the Altar except as an Altar Guild member until the mid 1970’s.
Being a member of the Altar Guild is a wonderful ministry. We are called to prepare the sanctuary for all Sunday services, as well as baptisms, funerals, weddings and other special services. We care for the Communion vessels, linens, altar hangings, vestments, candles, flowers and the bread and wine.
COS Altar Guild presently has 23 dedicated women devoted to performing their work with faithfulness and reverence. Please prayerfully consider becoming one of these dedicated women. If you have any questions about what the Altar Guild does or would like to see how we operate, please stop by the Altar Guild room any Saturday morning between 9-10 or on Sundays after the 8 or 10:00 service as we prepare for services or cleanse after services. If you are searching for a way to praise God with your gifts consider the Altar Guild. Contact me with any questions DebbieA1033@hotmail.com
As we move into the twenty first century many churches are seeing more men becoming Altar Guild members. It happened in our history and could happen again. Could such a thing possibly happen at COS???