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Opening the Doors of Advent


No one knows better than altar guild members that Advent is a season of preparation. As we prepare our homes and churches for the great celebration of Christmas, we open many doors — not unlike our Advent calendars. We open attic doors to retrieve special Christmas decorations. We open shop doors to purchase gifts for friends and family. We open oven doors to bake cookies and roast turkeys to delight our loved ones.

There is one more important door to open in Advent: the door to our hearts. If we are to celebrate the incarnation fully, we must prepare our hearts and minds as well as our hearths and altars. Advent is a time to throw back any bolts of doubt or lingering resentments or feelings of worthlessness, and in faith open the door of our hearts to let the love of God come in, and complete the celebration.

The last doors of Advent to open are those to your parish church on Christmas Eve. God willing, we will be able to open them this year. If not, though, we can open the virtual doors. Either way, on that most holy night, open them wide and step through with open heart and open mind. Sing again the songs of wonder; hear again the good tidings of great joy, and receive the mysterious, marvelous gifts of God which await you just behind the doors.

~ The Rev. Laurence G. Byrne

Highlights from Epistle

Church Beyond COVID

It is very clear that the realities of the COVID pandemic have radically upset the regular patterns of life in the church as we have known them. While we are no way near the end of the pandemic, it is good to ponder what the Body of Christ might look like …

Altar Guild Recruitment

This story begins with gratitude. St. Mary of the Angels was blessed with a vibrant and dedicated altar guild for many decades. The last five years we gradually experienced a loss of membership until we found ourselves at the end of COVID with three members…

Christmas in the Unknown

If there’s one thing that 2020 and 2021 have taught us, it is that we are not doing things “as usual.” Remember the old standby saying, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Well, NOT anymore! We have had to come up with newer and better ways to get the job done…


Connect with NAGA

COVID Resources: We have compiled a selection of articles and resources about worship and communion during this difficult time. If you have any ideas to share, we would love to hear your suggestions and solutions. Please email Marcia HimesClick here to read more.

Seeking NAGA Representative for Province IX (Central & South America). For more information, contact Marcia Himes.

Contribute to a History of NAGA: In 2006 Barbara Gent researched and wrote a book spanning 73 years of NAGA’s history. Now, a second volume of NAGA history and the future of altar guild is in its infancy. We welcome any suggestions for inclusion in this work. Click here to read more.

Disaster Communion Kits. Should fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake or epidemic leave your parish unable to host Eucharist, NAGA will provide a free Disaster Communion Kit. If you need a kit, please contact Joan Konecny (or 936-870-5781). Click here for a video on how to assemble them.

Order your Epistle in living color. Members can receive their Epistle by email. Just send your e-mail address to The Rev. Larry Byrne.

Share your insights with others. We are happy to share your altar guild newsletter on our website. Please send a PDF of the current issue to our webmaster Betty Hinchman.

Who’s Who? Who are your current Provincial and Diocesan Altar Guild Directors? Please send current contact information to The Rev. Larry Byrne or Marcia Himes.