ADVENT LUTHERAN CHURCH
ALTAR GUILD PREPARATION LIST
Updated May 2002
Check Church Calendar or with the Pastors to see if there is a baptism or anything special
planned for the service. This may dictate whether you will set up for Table (altar) distribution of
Communion or Station (continuous) distribution. If there is a baptism, confirmation, or other
special event, plan on station distribution. We have been trying to leave you a note in the
sacristy ahead of Sunday morning to warn you of station communion.
Check to see if there is a wedding on Saturday and do not set up for Sunday Communion
until after the ceremony. Call the office to check on times when wedding parties will be gone
from the sanctuary. Church office personnel can also help arrange for you to get a key if you
need one to get in to set up.
Check Parament Calendar, located in the Sacristy, to see what the liturgical color is for
Sunday morning, especially if you are serving at the first service of the morning you are
responsible for changing the paraments. Make sure that the right color is in place for mid-week
services, too. Check paraments to see that they are straight and not wrinkled. Paraments are
located on the rack in the room by the choir. A designated altar guild member is in charge of
Check banners. Do they need to be changed? Are the appropriate ones up? Is it time to
take them all down? The pastors or a designated altar guild member generally take care of this.
If you have questions, again, don't hesitate to call the pastors to inquire about banners.
Candles on the Altar - With our oil-burning candles, be sure the canister has enough fuel
to burn for a full Sunday morning. The refillable canisters make it easy to check. Fill them from
the bottle of oil in the sacristy. Check the wick to be sure it is the right length. If oil is running
low please let the Altar Guild chairperson know so more oil can be ordered.
Eternal Flame - Check to be certain that both of our eternal lights are lit. The second
one is in the Prayer Chapel. If they are out, or low, please replace. Replacements are in the
sacristy or behind the altar in the Prayer Chapel. Again, advise Altar Guild chairperson if the
supply of candles is low. Lower candle carefully to altar height using the rope near the sacristy
door. Anytime you are at church, please check and if the candle is out, please replace.
Altar Book - If you think about it, please set book at the place of the creed since that is
where the pastors will be using the book in preparation for the next service. It helps if you do
this, especially, between services. The Prayers of the Day are located at this position, as well.
Check which setting is to be used based on the bulletin. The pastors will double-check the book
prior to the 8 AM service. If you are uncertain where to set it, don't worry about this. The
pastors can find the right page quickly on their own.
Crucifix: Make sure the crucifix is by the entrance before each service if we are using a
crucifer, by pulpit if we are not. Check the bulletin.
Flowers: Check to make sure flowers are by the pulpit and near the font and that they
have been placed in the proper containers.
Be sure the water in the font is turned on and running in sufficient quantity prior to
worship whether or not there is a baptism. When filling the font with extra water (needs to be
checked each week), add water in the bottom pool. Do it when the font is OFF . . . never when it
is on, because when it is later shut off, the water backs up into the bottom pool and can overflow.
Use hot water when filling the font if there is a baptism that day -- the children will appreciate it.
The office will arrange for the rose through our florist. It should be on the counter in the
sacristy. On Sunday morning you will put the rose on the font. Also, place the baptismal shell,
oil stock, and candle(s) in their bases at the font. Unscrew the lid on the oil stock since it takes a
long time to unscrew during the service. Please check in the pastors' office to see if you need to
place the napkin or stole on the font/altar rail. The church should be set up for the baptism for all
services, even if the baptism is at one of the late services. After the service, give the candle, in
the box, and the rose to the family. Be sure the family also receives the certificate, stole and
napkin. Return candle holders, shell and oil stock to sacristy.
When there is a baptism, the Paschal Candle should be lit prior to the first service. It
remains lit all morning. You are responsible for lighting that candle, if the pastors have not
already done so. Please remember to check it. Following the late service, please check to be
sure candle is out. Sometimes it has remained lit after all have left.
Buy Bread - King's Hawaiian Bread in the round loaf works great! You need a round
loaf to fit the paten. It is your responsibility to provide the bread and have it for serving at the
service. An extra loaf is stored in the freezer as an emergency back-up; but it helps to have a
second loaf available in the sacristy during worship. Please leave extra bread from previous
services for services later in the morning. Wafers are also available in the event we have a bread
shortage. Should you need to use the freezer loaf, please replace it, and make sure to date it so it
doesn't get old. Occasionally place your bread in the freezer and use the frozen loaf.
Wine is under the counter in the Sacristy and grape juice is in the refrigerator. Please call
the Altar Guild Chairperson if the wine or grape juice supply is low. You can transfer the grape
juice from one service to the next. Mitts are provided for polishing and handling our
Communion vessels. Also, there is silver polish. When you have time, please polish the
Be sure a large plastic sheet is under the altar linen over the parament to protect them
from spilled grape juice or wine.
Corporal Cloth goes directly on top of fair linen with the cross to the front of the altar and
where the bread and wine will be placed. Place this off center, to the right quadrant of the altar
(as you face the congregation). The altar book is placed to the left of the cloth (as you face the
Empty Chalice (one for altar distribution and two for continuous distribution) should be
lightly greased along the outside rim to ease pouring. This goes on the altar on the Corporal
Cloth, to the right of center (the second one is placed right of the first one, off the edge of the
Corporal cloth). Place one or two small, square covers (palls) next to the bookstand with the
veil. Do not cover the Chalice. Please also place one Veil, 30"x30", next to the book stand.
Small Paten, with cloth (one or two, depending on style of serving of Communion), and
one or two l4"x 14" Purificator cloth(es) for pouring, should be placed beside the Chalice(s).
Purificator(s) should be placed on top of the small patens.
Large Paten, with cloth, l9"x 19", and a loaf of bread should be prepared for Sunday
Palls and Veil should be placed just in front of the altar book stand.
Flagon should also be lightly greased along the outside rim and a bottle of wine should be
in the sacristy ready for Sunday morning. Do not pour wine until Sunday morning. We do not
use the very small silver plate anymore since we place 6-7 cups of grape juice in each tray.
On Sunday morning, wrap bread in cloth on the large paten. Pour wine in Flagon. Leave
bread and wine in back of church on old baptismal font (called a credence table). Remember, the
chalice(s) will be on the altar.
Double Check - Empty trays, wine and grape juice in appropriate location? See
FOR ALTAR COMMUNION DISTRIBUTION:
During the offering, get wine and bread from the credence table. As an Altar Guild
member, you carry the bread and wine to the Altar behind the ushers, then return to your seat
immediately after all elements have been given to the Pastor. You should be ready to go up and
assist should there be any problems during communion service (keep an eye on the pastors).
Fill Altar Railing with glasses, UPSIDE DOWN, spacing them as best you can so as not
to run short of serving glasses at any one spot. At 8:00 AM service, fill the altar rail as full as
possible for use at succeeding services.
Place a stack of empty trays on the stand on the right side of the altar and cover with top.
Be sure the base is underneath and a cover is on top. Fill 6 or 7 glasses with grape juice for each
tray so that the acolyte does not have to transfer them on the altar, except for the top tray.
The top tray should contain 10 glasses of wine with the small plate in the center for
bread. This top tray will be placed on the stand near the pulpit for distribution to worshipers who
cannot ascend the stairs. The Pastor will move it at the time of the distribution. NOTE: If you
find out that only one pastor will be present for the day, then omit this top tray and the
stand by the pulpit. Be sure to place a stand on the left side of the altar with a base and cover,
to receive the used cups from the distribution.
FOR CONTINUOUS COMMUNION DISTRIBUTION:
Prepare two stands with trays in the following manner: base, three or four trays of full,
clean glasses (with six/seven glasses of grape juice in the center), an empty tray, and a top.
Place one stand behind the pulpit and one stand along the wall, near the offering plates.
These should be moved to their appropriate places during the service at the time of the offering,
prior to communion, by the pastors or assisting ministers.
Be sure to place approximately 8 clean glasses on each side in the altar rail, in the rear for
the pastors, assisting ministers, and you to commune. Also, place 4 glasses of grape juice
inside the communion rail, 2 on each side.
You will need to assist during the distribution as "runners."
After you have brought the elements forward, remain in the first pew and immediately
after the invitation, when the congregation is seated, come forward and commune with the
assisting ministers. After you have communed, double check to be sure the stand is in the right
location, even with the first inside leg of the pew. Remove the lid from the stack of trays and
place it on the altar rail. Hand the top empty tray to the Acolyte/Crucifer.
During the distribution you will be sure that when a tray becomes empty you hand it to
the acolyte, taking away their tray of full/used glasses. Place it on the altar rail until the
conclusion of distribution. Watch to see that the Assisting Minister has enough wine in his/her
chalice and secure more bread for the pastors. Please break the large part of the loaf into smaller
pieces to give to the pastors.
At the conclusion of the distribution, place the trays on the base and place the lid back on
top. Leave the stack of trays where they are--they do not need to be moved at this time. Then
return to your seat; or if pressed for time, take them immediately into the sacristy to begin
Pour wine left from the Chalice onto the ground outside. Place the wine in the flagon
back into the bottle. If there is extra bread, save it for the next services or after the last service, it
may be eaten or reverently broken and given to the birds.
Wash all used glasses, Chalice and flagon. Put glasses back in trays and cover them. The
Chalice, flagon and paten are stored in the cabinet next to the sacristy counter. Make sure the
Chalice and flagon are in the bags provided. The three patens go in the orange felt bags.
Clean railing where necessary, picking up bread crumbs. Use the Dustbuster. It is stored
in the sacristy. Do this as soon as possible. Empty liners of rail on the floor and vacuum up or
use dustbuster. Check also for spilled wine or grape juice and clean up with damp cloth.
Check all paraments for stains, wax, wrinkles, etc. If necessary, get cleaned and returned
during the week. Check with the chairperson before doing this. Check Fair Linen, Corporal
Cloth and other cloths for stains. Run hot water over wine stains until they disappear. Someone
in Altar Guild cleans all linens. Place dry linens in the hamper for pick up and drape wet linens
over hamper so that they do not become musty. Do not roll linens into a ball.
During the week, there should be only the candles and hymnal left on the altar. The
hymnal should be in the center of the altar. Be sure to remove the small tables which hold the
communion trays. These may be placed under the altar, behind the frontal, if they will be hidden
Also, after last service, it would be helpful to be sure the sacristy door is locked, the font
off, and the sound system also turned off.
Double-check: are all the baptismal items put away...the vase, the oil stock, the candle
CARE OF PASTOR'S ROBES
Altar Guild Chairperson(s) or their designee usually checks the Pastors’ robes to make
sure they are clean. It would be very helpful if you would also take the acolytes' robes to be
cleaned. These are stored in the Conference Room closet. Sometimes, someone is designated to
do this job regularly. Check with Altar Guild Chairperson before you clean any robes.
SUGGESTED BANNER SCHEDULE
NO Holy Communion/Baptismal Banners Emmanuel Banner
Advent Banner Only Mary, Joseph & Jesus Banner
Jesse Tree, if we are using one Wreaths
Advent Wreath Crucifer: Brass Cross w/Dove
Crucifer: wood cross Chrismom Trees, poinsettias
For Third Sunday: Wreaths Cucifer: Brass Cross
For Fourth Sunday: Chrismon Tree and poinsettias Star Banner in center
All this stays up through January 6, Epiphany
Epiphany Banners on wall behind altar
Baptism and Communion Banners up
Crucifer: Brass Cross
Ash Wednesday, Lent: Maundy Thursday:
No banners except: Hang Communion Banner
Brown & purple Cross of Thorns
Crucifer: wood cross Good Friday: Nothing
Easter Banner on stone wall
Big Banner with 3 wood crosses
Baptism & Communion Banners
Cross with Flowers (against back wall or next to pulpit)
Crucifer: Brass Cross
Red Banner with Fire and Dove hanging on stone wall all season
Reformation Banner with rose in middle (Pentecost Day only)
Baptism and Holy Communion all season
Green “Empowered By The Spirit” banner above font
Crucifer: Brass Cross
Festivals: (Baptism and Communion Banners with:)
Holy Trinity (Sunday after Pentecost):
White Trinity Banner (w/three gold rings) behind pulpit
Crucifix with Brass Cross
Reformation (Last Sunday in October):
Luther's Rose behind pulpit
Crucifix with Brass Cross
All Saints Sunday (First Sunday in November):
All Saints Banner behind pulpit
Crucifix with Brass Cross
Harvest Decorations up from beginning of November (after All Saints Sunday)
through Thanksgiving service
Funerals: Easter banner with three wood crosses behind pulpit