Organized in 1902 by the Sisters of Saint John the Divine to do needlework, embroidery and sanctuary duties, the Guild continues today under a president who is responsible to the Guild's warden, Fr. Andrews.
Members work in teams, preparing the chancel, vestments and Communion vessels for Sunday Masses and Evensong. One member arranges the altar flowers. Weekday members are responsible for preparing for weekday services and doing the "housekeeping" work not easily done on weekends. Cleaning of silver and brass, and laundering of altar linens and albs are routine jobs shared by many. In addition, the Guild replaces and repairs worn items, using funds that come primarily from donations. Once a month, members gather for the Guild Office and a business meeting.
The Guild holds special appeal to those individuals who appreciate the beauty of the church and its glorious liturgy, and who wish to participate in the care and maintenance of our splendid vestments and ornaments.
For further information, contact the rector, Fr. Mark Andrews, at the church office: (416) 979-2323.
The White Vestments
At Midnight Mass 2009, The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, blessed our new White Vestments. They were the gift of many generous parishioners and the creative fundraising efforts of the St. Thomas's Altar Guild. The original set was given to the parish at Christmas 1956 by Mr. Gerald Larkin. After many years of use, it was showing its age and becoming very frail.
The new White Vestments, shown here, were produced by the highly skilled Diocesan Needleworkers, under the direction of the late Donalda McTaggart, a St. Thomas's parishioner who passed away in 2012.
The Altar Guild helps maintain and repair the vestments that are used for both the weekday and Sunday services. Over the years, the Guild has also instigated major repairs and/or replacement of High Mass sets, such as the green set used on the Sundays in Trinity.
The chasuble that is used at the 7:30 am and 12:15 pm Requiems on All Souls' Day was given to St. Thomas's Church by the Sisters of Saint John the Divine in 1939; it was a World War II memorial gift.
Recently, a project was undertaken to replace the High Mass black set whose silk had become extremely frail. The black set was made by members of the Altar Guild as their war memorial gift to the church, under the supervision of the Sisters of Saint John the Divine. It was first used at a Requiem in 1917 for the victims of World War I. These pieces are irreplaceable due to their nature as memorial gifts. Therefore, it was the aim of the Altar Guild to honour this aspect of these vestments and endeavour to make as close a copy as possible. Parishioners contributed to make the replacement High Mass black set another memorial gift of the whole congregation. This project was done under the supervision of Donalda McTaggart (1939-2012), a St. Thomas's parishioner who was head of the Diocesan Sewing Guild for several years. Sadly, Donalda succumbed to cancer just as the set was being completed. Fittingly, the set was first used at her Requiem Mass at St. Thomas's on Tuesday, April 10, 2013.
The Altar Guild seeks new members. If interested, please contact Fr. Mark Andrews at the church office: (416) 979-2323.