I hope this web site will prove a helpful and useful resource for altar guild workers everywhere, and that you will post comments, useful tips and suggestions to share with all of us in the state of Rhode Island. Although we may be spread out far and wide around our little state, we each share the same challenges and joys in our own parish guilds, and we can benefit greatly from the experiences of all.
Who am I and what am I trying to accomplish? Fair question!
My own “calling” to this crucial ministry came at Christ Church, Westerly in 1995, where I trained and served on the altar guild, primarily doing Sunday and festival flowers, as well as some vestment and parament sewing, sacristy renovation consultation, and serving as wedding director. My training as a professional florist came in handy, although there is a difference between designing for the public and designing for a church altar!
With great good fortune, I came to know of and join the Arts and Crafts Revival Association at Church of the Advent in Boston, and attended and presented workshops there which included church flowers, church architecture, vestments, icons, church furnishings and renovation of period edifices and furnishings.
I served as altar guild director for St. John the Evangelist, Newport for 8 years while attending graduate courses in textile conservation, exhibition and costume history at the University of Rhode Island at Kingston, where I have worked for ten years as a parish administrator at St. Augustine’s Church, the Episcopal Chaplaincy for the campus. I was appointed to the Diocesan Altar Guild Director position by Bishop Wolf nearly six years ago.
Presenting workshops, lectures and field trips for altar guilds are particular joys for me as well as exhibiting liturgical textiles. Holy Cross, Worcester, The Bible Society, Manhattan, St. John the Evangelist, Newport, Quinn Hall Textile Gallery, URI, and The Anglican Foundation, Newport have been venues for exhibitions of vestments, artwork, linens, laces and other liturgical art exhibits with which I curated or was affiliated from 1997-2006.
I enjoy visiting parishes, meeting other altar guild members, visiting the sacristies and learning great techniques and useful hints from those with many years of experience which I delight in passing on, and helping when I am able, to be of service to the parishes of our Diocese. I look forward to meeting you soon,
Shelley Dziedzic Revdma@aol.com