This dedicated group of parish volunteers is responsible for the care and preparations of the altars and all important elements used during worship service and celebration of the Eucharist or any other sacraments of the church, including baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
Working under the direction of the clergy, members prepare the altar for the Eucharist and take care of the linens, vestments, brass and silver, acolyte equipment, candles, and flowers. Altar Guild volunteers also oversee altar decorations for special holiday services.
Spiritual growth and enrichment have always been an important element of adult education in the Episcopal Parish of Alton. Bible Study has been an active ministry for many years and is held every Tuesday morning at 10:15 am in St. Paul’s Heneghan hall with the celebration of the Eucharist at 9:30 a.m.
For folks who enjoy a good read that inspires interesting and intellectual exchange, our parish Book Club meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 9:30 am at various locations. Come join this lively group of bookworms for stimulating discussion and dialogue. Please check the current Angelus newsletter for upcoming book selections and meeting location.
St. Paul’s talented choristers practice each week and prior to Sunday morning worship service then lead parishioners in traditional and classical hymns to enrich the worship experience, in addition to singing an anthem during the service,
EPISCOPAL CHURCH MEN (ECM)
This fellowship of men supports the parish and local charities, like Crisis Food Pantry and Oasis Women’s Shelter. Every Christmas they open their annual holiday party to the entire parish for year-end fellowship and festivities.
EPISCOPAL CHURCH WOMEN (ECW)
This fellowship of women supports and finances the parish, as well as the Episcopal Church Women organization at the Diocesan level. The Episcopal women of the EPA have long maintained contact with parish shut-ins through their monthly greeting card program, in addition to providing gifts to newly baptized parishioners and Prayer Books to adult confirmands. This group of hard-working and talented women hosts funeral luncheons upon request for families who have lost a loved one.
GUILD OF GRACE
The Guild of Grace was formed in the mid 1960’s as a guild to provide hospitality to the parish which still remains our main focus today. Our guild has evolved to support our parish children and families by equipping the nursery as well as responsibility for the Annual Chili Supper and the Annual Meeting Brunch. We also provide support to many other activities around the parish.
Lay ministry for St. Paul’s Church and Trinity Chapel includes Acolytes, Lectors, Chalice Bearers, Intercessors, and Ushers and Greeters.
Acolytes, composed of both youth and adults, assist the celebrant and enhance the worship services by leading the processions, assisting in the preparation of the altar for the Holy Eucharist, and incense at special services.
Young people, as well as adults, have the opportunity through this ministry to assume leadership roles in our parish, learn our traditions and actively participate in worship services in a spiritually memorable way.
Lectors, Chalice Bearers, and Intercessors fulfill their ministry by being an integral part of our worship liturgy – assisting the clergy with readings from the Old and New Testament, leading the Prayers of the People, and serving in the celebration and distribution of the Eucharist.
Ushers and Greeters serve our parish by providing a warm welcome and greeting to all who join us for worship on Sunday mornings and special services. They provide them with bulletins, leaflets, and ‘busy bags’ for our “little visitors.” Ushers assist during the service with seating, take a headcount, collect the offering, and guide communicants to the altar rail. They also lead the celebrant to communicants in the congregation who are unable to walk to the altar rail and assist in other ways during the worship service as necessary. Greeters welcome parishioners and visitors before and after worship, and host visitors during coffee hour in our parish fellowship hall.
TRINITY MISSIONARY SOCIETY
Trinity Missionary Society was organized to oversee the hospitality functions at Trinity Chapel, manage Trinity Endowments, and maintain a working relationship with the Presbyterian congregation that rents the chapel for weekly services. They are responsible for cleaning and routine maintenance of the chapel facility and advise Vestry of major maintenance or improvements needed.
UNITED THANK OFFERING
The mission of United Thank Offering (UTO) is to expand the circle of thankful people. To achieve this mission we encourage daily prayers, offerings, and awareness of the abundance of God’s blessings. Through the United Thank Offering, men, women, and children nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessings. Those who participate in the UTO have discovered that thankfulness leads to generosity. A short prayer of thanksgiving leads to an offering in each individual’s blue UTO box. The boxes are distributed in the spring and fall before the money is collected. All offerings are used to support grants for ministries at home and overseas as an outreach of the Episcopal Church. Prayers and offerings make it possible for the UTO mission to stretch in unexpected ways.