|Worship Assistant Schedules
ALTAR GUILD SCHEDULE 2018
Altar Guild Coordinator: Fran Crist
The Altar Guild
O send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; Let them bring
me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of
God, to my exceeding Joy" Psalm 43: 3-4a
Worship is a most important act of the church. In worship we remember,
celebrate, reverence God's saving acts. The vehicle through which we do
all of that is called 'Liturgy". Liturgy is words and actions or the "work'
the community of believers does to celebrate God's saving acts.
Reverence is the proper spirit to approach liturgy. It means that we
acknowledge God is present now as He was in history and always will
be. God takes physical things we use. He adds His word and Spirit, and
is present. He is present with the water in Baptism. He is present with
the Bread and Wine in Communion (Eucharist). He is present in
teaching and preaching.
To be a member of and serve on the Altar Guild is an important
volunteer position in a congregation. It is a service of trust done in love
for the almighty God, Whom we are called to worship. The position
demands that a person approach service on the guild in humility and joy.
The work - whether working at the altar, cleaning the brass fixtures, or
polishing paraments at home - should be approached with devotion that
matches our faith in the Lord.
1.What does an Altar Guild do?
The Altar Guild exclusively is entrusted with the responsibility of
preparing the chancel and its furnishing for corporate worship. The
Altar Guild sees that the worship space is "clean' and in "good order".
a. Routine preparation includes the following:
i.Clean or dust chancel furnishings, wipe out the Baptismal Font and see
that the sink in the sacristy is clean. From time to time, the brass flower
containers and other brass items should be cleaned, providing they have
not been shellacked.
ii.See that the paraments are the proper color for the day or season
(Check the calendar on the sacristy wall or page 9ff. in the Lutheran
Book of Worship). Paraments are found in the special closet in the
iii.If there are flowers for the service, make sure that they are in place.
If there are no flowers, remove the brass vases from the retable (the
ledge at the back of the altar).
iv.Check candles to see that they are in place with their wicks upright
and ready to be lit. The candles should be replaced if they are not at
least 2" long. The "great lights", the candles on either side of the cross,
use a special oil. They should be filled to the bottom of the threads on
the candle sticks. When Baptisms are held, and during the Easter
season,the large paschal candle is placed on the lectern side next to
the baptismal font. As it, too, contains oil, it should be filled to the
bottom of the threads on the candlestick.
v.Check the hymn boards to see that it is made up with the correct
hymn numbers and the proper season for the day is indicated.
vi.If there is a Communion or a Baptism, the proper vessels, linens,
and other items needed for these Sacraments should be set our
according to the Pastor's directions.
vii.If you have any questions about how the altar or chancel area
should be prepared for any service, contact the Pastor.
b. After the worship service:
i. Clean any vessels that may have been used in the service and store
them in the appropriate place.
ii. If there are flowers, dispose of them as directed by the person
donating them or as you deem to be appropriate.
iii. Check the altar, Communion, or Baptismal linens used in the worship
service. If they are wrinkled or soiled, take them home to be
laundered and ironed. (Note: Use no bluing when laundering these linens).
In general, purificators, corporal, and other clothes are to be ironed in a
9 fold pattern, with the cross exposed on top in the case of the corporal
and some purificators.
It helps for members of the altar guild to be knowledgeable about the
various parts of the church building and worship appointments.
a. The church building and furniture
i.Narthex - the entrance hall of the church building. St. Mary's has
two narthex, one at the Littlestown Pike entrance and the other from
the Mayberry Road side. The narthex separates the place of worship
from the outside world and is a zone of transition for the person coming
to worship. It is in the narthex that visitors gain their first impression of
the congregation. Therefore, it should be neat and convey a sense of
warm hospitality. Persons who have infirmities are encouraged to use
the sacristy entrance.
ii. Nave - the place were the congregation assembles for worship.
This word comes from the Latin word navis which means "ship". The
church is God's ship sailing the oceans of time.
iii. Chancel - the raised platform in front of the nave - where worship
is conducted and the Sacraments administered. The altar is contained
within the chancel.
iv. Altar - the table of the Lord. It is the architectural and liturgical
focus of the church building. It is the table on which the Lord's Supper
is celebrated, the symbolic meeting place of God and his people.
v. Altar Rail - a rail which in many churches extends around the edge
of the chancel. It is a place to kneel for communion, for the imposition
of ashes on Ash Wednesday, for prayer and the laying on of hands at
Confirmation, and for use at other times when it is appropriate to kneel
vi. Pulpit - (from Latin meaning "platform") an elevated stand used for
vii. Lectern - a reading desk from which the scriptures are read during
viii. Credence - a small table, shelf, or bracket located near the altar and
used to hold sacramental vessels or the alms basin and offering plate.
ix. Font - the place of Baptism. The font is placed at St. Mary's at the
entrance to the chancel area to remind us that it is through Baptism that
we enter into the life of Christ's church. Behind and over the font is the
cross on the altar to remind us that Christ suffered, died, and was
resurrected for us. Thus, the font, with the cross, reminds us that all of
life from birth (Baptism) to death (cross) is lived in Christ.
x. Sacristy - a room for the vesting of the ministers and preparation
for the service usually adjacent to the altar. At St. Mary's vestments
are kept in a closet in the nursery.
b. Paraments - a general name for the cloths, in various liturgical colors
(white, gold, red, green, blue, or black) used on the altar, pulpit, and
lectern. Paraments are stored in the special closet in the church nursery.
The color of the paraments for each service are indicated on the calendar
in the sacristy, and on page 9ff. in the Lutheran Book of Worship.
i. Altar Paraments (See figure 1)
(1) Frontal - this term technically refers to the front panel of the altar.
The term is also used for a cloth hanging which covers the entire front
of the altar.
(2) Frontlet or Superfrontal - a narrow band in the appropriate liturgical
color which extends across the top front of an altar. It was originally
used to cover the rods and hooks from which the frontal was suspended.
We do not use a frontlet at St. Mary's.
ii. Pulpit and Lectern Paraments - these are made of the same material
and are the same color as the altar paraments. They properly should
cover the top of the pulpit and lectern desk and fall over the front edge.
Thus they are often referred to as "falls' or "antependium" (from Latin
meaning "to hang before").
c. Altar Linens (see figure 1)
i.Cere Cloth - (from Latin meaning "wax") a piece of heavy linen
dipped in wax and used generally on stone altars to prevent dampness
from staining the fair linen. We do not have a cere cloth at St. Mary's
as our altar is of wood.
ii. Fair Linen - (from Anglo-Saxon meaning "clean" or "spotless') a
cloth of fine linen which covers the top of the altar and which hangs
down at either end about one-third to two-thirds of the way to the floor.
It is usually embroidered with five crosses (at each corner and front
center) to remind us of the five wounds of Jesus. Since this cloth
represents the winding sheet in which Jesus' body was wrapped when
it was taken from the cross, it should never be folded. After laundering
roll it on a heavy piece of cardboard. There should always be two of
these (one in reserve), so that there is always a fair linen on the altar.
iii. At St. Mary's there is also a sheet of plastic that is used to protect
the fair linen.
d. Communion Linens (see figure 2)
i. Corporal - a square linen on which the communion vessels are
placed in the center of the mensa (altar top). Hence the corporal, for
it bears the corpus or body of Christ. It sometimes has a cross
embroidered on the front edge. When laundered the corporal is folded
into nine squares with the front center cross on top. Just before the
Great Thanksgiving beings the corporal is placed over the fair linen
by the Pastor or Communion Assistant.
ii. Pall - a stiffened piece of cloth used to cover the chalice during
Holy Communion and prevent foreign objects from falling into it.
iii. Purificator - a small square of linen generally folded into "nines"to
make a long narrow strip which is laid on the chalice with the pall on
top of it. They are also used to wipe the chalice during the distribution
or to clean up any spills. Two additional purificators should be placed
in the burse, a kind of folded "book" that contains the corporal..
iv. Veil - a fine linen used to cover the sacramental vessels (chalice,
paten, ciborium). It usually does not cover a flagon or cruet. Currently,
we are not using a veil at St. Mary's.
e. Communion Vessels (see figure 3)
i. Chalice - (from Latin meaning "cup") the cup used in the sacrament
of Holy Communion. A pouring lip can be added to the chalice so that
it can be used to pour the wine of the Communion into individual
ii. Paten - A plate used to hold the bread in the sacrament of Holy
iii. Host Box or Ciborium - a container used to hold extra wafers
during the Communion service or to store wafers between services.
iv. Flagon - a metal pitcher usually made of silver from which the
chalice is filled as needed during the communion.
f. Baptismal Linens and Vessels
i. Baptismal Towel - a linen towel for use by the Pastor to dry his
hands and the heads of those baptized.
ii. Ewer - a metal pitcher sed to hold the water to be used in the
Sacrament of Baptism.
iii. Baptismal Shell - a shell use to pour water over the head of the
person being baptized. This is not currently being used at St. Mary's.
2. Setting Up for Communion and Baptism
(In addition to the routine preparations.)
a. Preparation for Holy Communion
i. Holy Communion is offered each Sunday and at other special times
that might occur during the week, e.g. Nativity of our LORD, Ash
Wednesday, Maundy Thursday).
ii. On the 1st Sunday of each month Holy Communion is distributed
from two chalices into small cups and a loaf of bread is used. Glasses
and receiving baskets need to be prepared. The Body and Blood of
Christ are distributed at the chancel rail where people have an opportunity
to kneel. The bread is placed on the large silver paten with a cloth
underneath it and another over it.
iii. Fill the trays with empty Communion glasses. Three glasses in each
tray should be filled with grape juice. Put the lid on the tray and place
them on the counter in the sacristy. Cover the credence table with the
appropriate linen before placing the communion ware upon it.
iv. After the worship service dispose of the empty communion glasses
and clean up the baskets use to collect them.
v. On most Sundays, intinction is used for the distribution. A large host
(wafer) is placed in the small silver paten and placed over a purificator
on the chalice, which is then covered with a pall. Then the burse,
containing the corporal and two purificators are placed on top of the
chalices. When two chalices are used, a purificator alone is used over
one of the chalices. (see figure 3)
vi.Note: since wine contains a level of acid it is not recommended that
they be held in metal communion vessel for more than a few hours.
Therefore, the flagon should not be filled until shortly before the
worship service and both the flagon and the chalice should be emptied
and cleaned up shortly after the worship service. (See attached
instructions for cleaning and laundering)
vii. Note: Any wine that is left in the chalice should be drunk promptly
or poured outside on the grass. Consecrated wine is never poured
down the sink drain! The bread remaining may be eaten, taken home
for eating, or broken up and put outside on the ground. Wine remaining
in the flagon may be poured back into the bottle.
viii. Check the linens and take home any that need to be laundered
b. Preparation for Holy Baptism.
i. On the platform at the base of lectern set out the ewer filled with
hot water, and a baptismal towel.
ii. After the worship service remove the water from the Baptismal font
and pour it on the ground, not down the drain. Then, put everything
away. The baptismal towel will need to be taken home and laundered.
Almighty God, we give You thanks for each new day, and
for all the blessings we receive. We also thank You for the
wonderful privilege of prayer. Through our Baptism we
became members of Your church. We know that along with
the membership comes obligations. Dispel any discord that
might arise, help keep us humble in all we do and help us
work in harmony and joy in all that needs to be done.
Strengthen our faith to believe if we come to You in prayer
all things are possible. We ask this in the name of Your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
||Fran Crist / Donna Reed
||Fran Crist / Donna Reed
||Ruth Warfield / Donna Reed
||Fran Crist / Donna Reed
||Ruth Warfield / Donna Reed
||Fran Crist / Donna Reed