“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
The Episcopal Parish of Alton (EPA) is blessed to have active and ongoing ministries in which people can serve in many different ways. Abundant opportunities exist for serving within our parish, as well as being part of active groups that serve our surrounding community.
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 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, including preparation of a large cross made entirely of flowers installed by all children attending Easter worship service.
Spiritual growth and enrichment has always been an important element of adult education in the Episcopal Parish of Alton. Bible Study has been an active ministry for the past forty years and is held every Tuesday morning at 9:30 am in Trinity Chapel’s fellowship hall with celebration of the Eucharist.
For folks who enjoy a good read that inspires interesting and intellectual exchange, our parish Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:30 am in Trinity Chapel’s fellowship hall. Come join this lively group of bookworms for stimulating discussion and dialogue covering book selections from N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian or Maya Angelou’s I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings to The Reader by Bernard Schlink.
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. Comprised of volunteer parishioners with musical backgrounds ranging from folks who simply love to sing to high school music instructors or musicians with professional experience, our choir director is always looking for a new Alto, Soprano, Tenor or Bass to join his choral ensemble and raise their voice in song and praise.
DAUGHTERS OF THE KING (DOK)
The EPA’s chapter of The Order of the Daughters of the King (DOK) is a community of parish women who desire a closer walk with the Lord through prayer, study, and service. DOK is a diverse, intergenerational order who studies and prays together, and maintains an active home prayer ministry for shut-ins.
EPISCOPAL CHURCH MEN (ECM)
This fellowship of men supports the parish and local charities, like Crisis Food Pantry and Oasis Women’s Shelter, with Mum and Geranium sales, hosting the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Lenten Fish Fries, and sponsoring the Book Nook.
The Episcopal Church Men of the EPA have also “gone green” in recent years by providing recycling services to the parish and community at large for return of used ink cartridges and scrap metals. Every Christmas they open their annual holiday party to the entire parish for year-end fellowship and festivities.
EPISCOPAL CURCH 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 host funeral luncheons upon request for families who have lost a loved one and each year our parishioners look forward to their brunches celebrating “Back to School” and “End of School” milestones.
GUILD OF GRACE
Organized over thirty years ago as an opportunity for young parish mothers of small children to enjoy an evening of fellowship together, Guild of Grace’s mission remains the support of our parish children and families by staffing and equipping the Nursery.
Guild of Grace provides dinner for families with new babies, Prayer Books for youth confirmands, and end of semester treats for our parish college students. Funds are raised to meet these commitments through Guild sponsorship of an annual Chili Supper before the Alton Halloween Parade and providing catering services for the Annual Meeting Brunch and other parish celebrations held in the parish fellowship hall.
LAY LITURGICAL MINISTRY
Lay ministry for St. Paul’s Church and Trinity Chapel includes Acolytes, Lectors, Chalice Bearers, Intercessors, Lay Ministers 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 preparation of the altar for the Holy Eucharist, and with 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, Intercessors, and Lay Ministers 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 a worship booklet, bulletins, leaflets, hearing assisted devices, and ‘busy bags’ for our “little visitors.” Ushers assist during the service with seating, take a head count, 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 provide a warm welcome to parishioners and visitors before and after worship, bring the communion elements to the altar rail and host visitors during coffee hour in our parish fellowship hall.
PARISH LIBRARY AND BOOKSTORE
A visit to our parish library or bookstore, both located in St. Paul’s Heneghan Hall, provides a real treat for those looking for a good book, CD or DVD to enrich their lives, as well as that unique gift item for family or friend.
With its diverse collection of books, CD/DVDs, or video cassettes, our parish library provides a rich collection of resource materials available for individuals seeking deeper spiritual growth and enrichment to checkout and study at their own pace.
Come in to check out the most recent CD additions like songs, praise or chants from Taize, The Voice of an Angel by Charlotte Church or Music for Holy Week from the choir of King’s College; or available on DVD are The Passion of Christ, Schindler’s List, Jeremiah, 4 Bible Stores-a collection to name a few.
Visitors to our parish bookstore will find a wonderful display and array of daily devotional and spiritually enriching books, pamphlets or materials as well as unique gift items that support local and regional ministries.
From soaps made by hand and blessed by the Benedictine Sisters in Clyde, MO, coffee bean totes sewn bywomen in transition from Sun Ministries in North St. Louis, to handmade cards or Episcopal Pups calendars, a visit to the Book Store can become a real delightful challenge for folks who simply want in drop in for a moment or two to check out the latest additions.
PARISH NURSE MINISTRY
For the past ten years,the EPA has been blessed to participate in the “parish nurse ministry” funded in part through Alton Memorial Hospital as a service to faith community congregations in the Riverbend area. All parishioners are invited to take advantage of monthly health screenings, conducted at both Trinity Chapel and St. Paul’s, and shut-ins can expect regular visits from our parish nurse to check on their overall physical, spiritual and mental well- being as she shares God’s love and healing power with us through her Body-Mind-Spirit ministry.
Another ongoing parish ministry is our Prayer Group which meets every Monday morning at 9:00 am in St. Paul’s Heneghan Hall for intercessory prayer. A spiritually enriching and uplifting way to begin each week, this group welcomes all parishioners to join them in prayer for all people of the parish, diocese, community, country and the world. If you have a special prayer request, please contact the church office or fill out a Prayer Request card and place in the offering plate during Sunday worship service at St. Paul’s and Trinity.
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.