Altar Guild

St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral

Altar Guild Directress - Tara Jones

The Altar Guild of St. Mark’s was honored and privileged to serve our clergy by assisting with 506 Eucharists, 21 Baptisms, 21 Confirmations, 9 Marriages, and 17 Funerals.  The guild prepared 174 communion kits for parishioners in hospitals, retirement communities, and private homes.  In December the guild was involved in the Ordination of two to the Deaconate, Michael Joseph Bordelon and David Seth Donald.

Currently the Altar Guild has 51 dedicated and faithful members and 1 trainee.  The guild is responsible for all tasks associated with the preparation and maintenance of our altars as well as setting up all liturgical services.  We procure all items needed for these liturgical services.  We clean and repair all silver, linens, vestments, and frontals (silk altar hangings).  We assure vestments and silk hangings are appropriate to the church calendar.  We conduct two special annual clean-ups for the Sacristy/Chancel/Sanctuary/Chapel areas prior to Christmas and Easter.

The Altar Guild sets up and maintains the Hargrove Altar in the Ministry Center and the White House Altar to aide in teaching the children of the cathedral.  Also, we work with the Head of St. Mark’s Cathedral School, Dr. Chris Carter and Chaplain, Dr. Judy Kane to coordinate all school Eucharists.  We maintain the All Saints’ Chapel in Stonewall, Louisiana, for the annual All Saints’ service.

Altar Guild leadership traditionally serves a one-year term, June 1 through May 31 of each year; and currently consists of the following:

Co-Directresses:  Connie Emmons and Mary Walmsley

Co-Assistant Directresses:  Joy Ratcliff and Lynn Yancey


This year the guild undertook several projects.  They are: 1) Restoring the Crèche table to be smaller, easier to set up and store, and added new carpet with skirting attached with Velcro to its base (Robert Rhoads and William Reyenga generously donated their time to this project); 2) Added new storage cabinets to the Sacristy; 3) Restored the silver cabinets in the Sacristy covered by generous donations in the memory of Carolyn Querbes Nelson; 4) Added shelving in the Usher’s room to accommodate storage of the wedding committee and special events item needs; 5) Added shelving and racks in the storage room behind the Baptismal Font area to store items needed for Stonewall Chapel, Thanksgiving services, Christmas Nativity figures, and Veils for Lent, and 6) Jim Hays, owner of The House of Props, is restoring the Nativity Angel and creating a new Star for the Crèche—this project will be completed by May 30, 2015.


There are three standing committees that are an integral part of the Altar Guild:


The Wedding Committee, chaired by Marybeth McVie, serves the clergy with all the non-liturgical aspects of a wedding.  Members advise the brides on all matters that pertain to the wedding customs of St. Mark’s Cathedral and assist at rehearsals and ceremonies. 

The Flower Committee is chaired by Debbie Hall.  Members of this committee break down Altar flowers from Sunday memorials, weddings, and funerals; and, deliver them in smaller arrangements to parishioners in hospitals, nursing homes, and those confined in their homes. 

The Linen Committee is chaired by Jane West.  This committee is responsible for the daily upkeep, laundering and ironing of the small linens used during each week’s services.  Members of this committee select the linens to be used for each week’s services as well as those appropriate for festival services.  Paula Slack, who formerly chaired this committee, has provided written instructions as well as personal in-services regarding the history and significance of our altar linens. 

Sherri Skrivanos coordinates the memorial flowers for both altars.  Our Cathedral is beautifully adorned with poinsettias and greenery at Christmas and Easter lilies at Easter through the generous donations of our parish families and the artful talent of our Cathedral Florist, Tom Craig of Berry Patch Floral.