‘The whole question of course is, not ‘What attracts and would help Me?’ but ‘Where can I serve God best?’ and usually the answer to that is, ‘Where He has put me.’’’
– Evelyn Underhill, Letters
St. Thomas relies on the support of parishioners who are expected over time to become involved in the life of the church and serve in support of it. Some notable examples of ways that parishioners get involved both on Sundays and throughout the week include the following.
Servers assist the priest at the Altar in the celebration of the Mass as well as other special services. Servers can be as young as eight, and in the case of younger children, it emphasizes that the place of children is front and central in the Church, around the altar and playing an active and important role.
Apart from practical support, servers add beauty and decorum to the Mass and assist the People in maintaining their focus on the action of the Mass. There are many different functions for servers ranging from the simplest of carrying the incense boat, to serving as the Master of Ceremonies to co-ordinate the actions of all of the servers and clergy. It is a ministry suitable for persons of any age and offers opportunity to grow in service over time as more training is completed.
Readers have an important role in the proclamation of the Word of God in public services, whether the Sunday Mass or at other times. The role of the Reader is essential, for Christianity is a spoken religion by which the Word is not privately read silently, but rather proclaimed publicly and aloud for the Body of believers to hear.
Readers are able to read with conviction and clarity, having spent time in study, prayer, and preparation prior to reading.
Greeters & Ushers
Greeters are the first face of St. Thomas, and welcome everyone to our community with a smile. They especially help guests to get settled in and situated as our old church building can sometimes feel complicated, and coming to a new church for the first time can sometimes carry with it small anxieties.
Ushers assist in collecting the Sunday offering, make a count of the number of people present at the mass to ensure the priest consecrates sufficient elements for all present, assists communicants to the altar during communion, and help to tidy up the church after the mass is completed.
Choir and Music
The Episcopal Church has an authorized hymnal called The Hymnal 1982 which is designed for congregational singing of four part harmony or unison singing accompanied by organ. Our Mass blends a combination of service music with traditional and modern hymns that help us to express our praise to Almighty God when spoken words are insufficient. The Choir helps to lead the People in singing, and also on occasion prepares special musical presentations such as Anthems, Motets, or Solos.
The Sacristan maintains a number of altar guild teams which help to prepare both the church and chapel for public services week by week. This involves the preparation and cleaning of linens, maintaining and cleaning sacred vessels and church plate, and ensuring the good order of our worship spaces and the sacristy where all materials for public services are stored.
The main office is generally run by the Administrative Assistant to the Rector, but also relies on a number of volunteer assistants who can aid with various duties over the course of the week. There are always papers to be folded, booklets to be assembled, envelopes to be stuffed, or phones to be answered. Our dedicated office volunteers ensure the office runs smoothly, and that the church remains organized.
If you are interested in volunteering to serve at St. Thomas, please contact the office and arrange a time to discuss your interests, arrange training, and add you to the servants schedule.