An ancient term meaning a companion, attendant, or helper. In modern worship our acolyte guild is comprised of youths ranging from grades 3 through grade 12. However, this ministry is not restricted to youths. Our acolyte master can be seen from time to time in robes serving at the altar. Typically, the acolytes participate in the liturgy by leading the processional of the choir and clergy, carrying the cross and torches. They also assist in the preparation of the Eucharist and the tradition of washing the celebrant's hands before communion. For further information, please contact Garland Riggs through the church office.
Over its 200 year history, St. Matthew's has accumulated the traditional accouterments of worship. These items include robes, Eucharistic vestments, altar linens, silver chalices, and other items used in our worship. The Altar Guild is a small group of dedicated people who work behind the scenes polishing silver and brass, washing and ironing linens, keeping track of the lists for altar flower donations and setting up and clearing the altar for all worship services. Special holidays like Christmas and Easter require additional cleaning and decorating. If you are looking for some way to become involved with helping out at St. Matthew’s Parish, please contact Jane Purcell through the church office.
St. Matthew's has a very active and vibrant choir directed by Ms. Joyce Rose and accompanied by organist Michael Ely, who is a Shenandoah Conservatory graduate and also accompanies the Grammy Award-winning Maryland Boy Choir. The choir begins its season each September on St. Matthew's Day and sings an Offertory Anthem at every 10:00 am Sunday worship service through late June, then takes off during the summer months. Rehearsals are Thursdays from 7:30-9:00 pm -- all are invited to join! There are no auditions, and the all-volunteer group welcomes new members. The music at St. Matthew's ranges from traditional classical repertory to Spirituals, gospel music, and contemporary Christian selections. If you would like to learn more about the St. Matthew's Choir, please contact Joyce Rose through the church office.
Episcopal Church Women
Our ECW group is very active, organizing church events like our annual pancake supper, occasional dinners, and teas. Once a month, they provide refreshments for our social hour after the 10:00 service. They enjoy working together on fundraisers to benefit St. Matthew's, helping others, and spending time to socialize and grow together spiritually. For further information, please contact Audrey Pabs-Garnon through the church office.
Gifts & Memorials Committee
The Gifts and Memorial Committee receives and oversees the disbursement of money given to the church in honor of or memory of loved ones. The gifts are recognized in a book on display in the Narthex or a plaque on which the person honored and the gift is listed. Annually on All Saints' Day, the families of those who gave gifts or had gifts given are invited as their names have been added to the remembrances. A luncheon is held afterwards as a means of thanks. The committee also oversees the Columbarium which holds the ashes of former members who requested and purchased in advance a box for this purpose. The names are listed on an adjacent plaque. For any further information, you can contact Carolyn Gakenheimer through the church office.
Another opportunity for laity to be active in the liturgy is to become a chalicist and/or a lay reader. Chalicists help administer the Eucharist during the service. They go through a short orientation and are licensed by the Bishop. Lay readers traditionally read the lectionary appointed for the day and lead the congregation in prayers. Sometimes, in the absence of the priest, they can take over a greater role in the service. If you are interested in participating in this ministry, please contact Sister Elena through the church office.