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Altar Guild at St. James the Apostle





The members of the Altar Guild are part of an unbroken tradition reaching back to the faithful women who provided for Jesus during his lifetime (Mark 15: 40-41; Matthew 27:55). There are legends as to the patron saint of Altar Guilds, one being Martha. This partly because of her practical life of active service, yet also because she was among the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah (John 11:7-29).





What Do We Do?


As one Altar Guild manual puts it, "We are the ones chosen to prepare for the meeting of the people with God." (Working Manual for Altar Guilds, Dorothy Diggs). Duties vary from church to church.At St. James this includes:


  • polishing the silver and brass.
  • washing & ironing the linens including everything from altar cloths to corporals & purificators.
  • setting up for the Sunday services.
  • cleaning up after services.
  • ensuring that the correct liturgical colours are used for the hangings, drapes, and frontals.



The Altar Guild is divided into three teams that take turns in a three month rotation. Each team meets for 1-2 hours a week to carry out their various duties. The day and time for that will vary from team to team. Currently all teams are meeting on Fridays, but at different times to best suit their members.   A very short time is also needed on Sundays to clean up following the services.


How to Join the Altar Guild or Just to Find Out More


At various times in the history of the Anglican Church Altar Guilds have been composed exclusively of men or exclusively of women. Today, anyone can be a member of the Altar Guild, men or women, young or old. You don't have to have any experience to join the Altar Guild. Your training will consist of hands on instruction from experienced Altar Guild members. If you are interested in exploring this important and rewarding ministry further please contact Jackie Bulger at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 519-822-8308.


Most gracious Father Who has called me Your child to serve in the preparation of Your Altar, so that it may be a suitable place for the offering of Your Body and Blood; Sanctify my life and consecrate my hands so that I may worthily handle those Sacred Gifts which are being offered to You. As I handle holy things, grant that my whole life may be illuminated and blessed by You, in whose honour I prepare them, and grant that the people who shall be blessed by their use, may find  their lives drawn closer to Him Whose Body and Blood is our hope and our strength, Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN (National Altar Guild Association Prayer