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Happy New Year!  I do hope you will send some photos of your church decorated for Christmas which we might share here.  Any file type can be sent to Revdma@aol.com

This year’s big project is to put together a resource data base of artisans, catalogues, experts, etc. for every possible need any church and sacristy could require.  Need a candlestick replated?  Want an estimate of value for a vintage textile?  Should you paint the Victorian ironwork  grille across the chancel?  Is this vestment historic and should it be conserved? Where do I get a triple-wicked candle for Easter Vigil?

These are all questions I receive throughout the year.  Liturgical or Ecclesiastical Arts is a field of pretty specialized knowledge .  There has been to-date no resource to which church ministry leaders could turn to find expert help on pressing matters such as restoration, conservation- or creation of new projects for worship spaces.  With the cost of labor and materials these days, you want the best work possible for the best price. 

Vestry members and concerned parishioners also want to be certain that restorations, renovations, conservation of church buildings and furnishings are correct for their edifice, and that nothing will be done to damage historic and important architectural features or fittings.  

The database is already underway and if you have a suggestion as to an artisan, expert, craftsman, artist, jeweler, appraiser, – etc. please drop me an email so I might visit and meet and see the work of this individual.  The plan is to have a page link at this site featuring photographs of the artisan’s work and credentials.  It is probable that some of our database consultants will have a fee incurred for their professional services, but there have been several volunteers who have stepped forward to be willing to be “on call” for advice, and recommendations.  This is a big work in progress- stay tuned!

Also this year, at least one field trip for altar guilds is in the works- to visit historic churches in R.I. and Boston, museums, and sacristies.  Updates will be posted on this as Spring approaches.

Finally, there will be a special day in Lent set aside to connect with altar guild members all across the state.  Please mark your calendars for March 28th, a Saturday, at 9 a.m.  There will be a special Eucharist for us, with our bishop presiding, a guest speaker, and a social time for us all to meet and exchange ideas and challenges we face in our work. A flyer will be sent to each parish director this month and more details will be posted on the site. 

I look forward this year to meeting more of our altar guild members at workshops and other events.  It has always been an enriching experience to visit our parishes and meet so many altar guild workers with many years of experience and who have so many wonderful ideas to share.

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