The Cathedral, as an Episcopal church, has a rich and complex liturgy. Sunday and Holiday services require a lot of preparation and support. By doctrine, the laity is central to Episcopal leadership. As such, lay participation in and preparation for the liturgy serves to invite more people into relationship with God and with the Cathedral.
The Altar Guild cares for the liturgical objects, linens, vestments and altar hangings used in the Cathedral. They are responsible for cleaning, mending, polishing, and other necessary tasks. The Guild also may assist in decorating the Cathedral for feast days.
Flower Guild members work alongside a professional floral designer to decorate the Cathedral for St. Francis Day, Christmas, and Easter.
Ushers greet visitors at the entrance, offering welcome and assisting anyone who needs it to a seat. They are the frontline of hospitality, as visitors’ experiences of the Cathedral are framed by how they are treated when they walk through the doors. On any given day, most of the people who visit have never been here before; some are attending a service for the first time in years, and others aren’t accustomed to being tourists in a place of worship. This job requires discernment and compassion.
Vergers, Acolytes and Lay Eucharistic Ministers assist in the service itself. Arriving at the Cathedral up to two hours before services begin to organize and prepare liturgical elements, these volunteers play a crucial role in making services run smoothly. Vergers act as stage managers, coordinating processions and the movement of both clergy and lay participants throughout the service. Acolytes, often seen carrying crosses and candles, also help lead processions and direct people to receive communion. Some acolytes are trained as thurifers, who carry and swing incense, which is used to bless the altar as well as the clergy and worshippers. Lay Eucharistic Ministers, who are specially trained and licensed, stand alongside clergy at communion, distributing the chalice wine. In addition, Lay Eucharistic Visitors bring communion to those who are unable to attend services.
Lectors are also vital participants in liturgies, reading the scriptural lessons and leading the prayers of intercession.
For more information about joining one of the Cathedral's volunteer guilds, please contact Amanda Sidebottom, Coordinator for Liturgy & the Arts, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 316-7531. The Cathedral is currently in particular need of Altar Guild and Flower Guild volunteers.
Children are welcome to participate in all the services as servers or acolytes. If your child is interested, please contact email@example.com or call (212) 316-7438.