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Just as spring arrived in Alabama, the NAGA board convened at Camp McDowell for its annual board meeting on March 17-19. The Rev. Bill King served as chaplain and celebrant in the beautiful St. Francis Chapel.

Committee and Provincial reports focused on the health of the organization. Increasing awareness and membership recruitment continue to be of concern. In January over 700 letters went out to dioceses, churches and members with the invitation to join for the first time or to renew their membership. This was followed by an almost equal number of the winter issue of the Epistle sent out the end of February. There are still vast numbers of altar guilds across the country that do not know of our existence and both our membership chair, David Hawley-Lowry, and our provincial representatives are working diligently to correct that. A pilot program in the diocese of New Jersey sent out 120 questionnaires and had 41 responses indicating there is interest and need. In this Epistle you will find a similar questionnaire which we hope you will take time to fill our and return. All data will be compiled and will help us better to serve altar guilds across the country. Click here to download and complete the NAGA Survey.

As we are an aging population it is vital that we interest the next generation in this ministry. One way of doing this is to give a membership to NAGA to a “younger” person in memory of or in thanksgiving for someone who has meant a lot to us. Click here for our Membership Form.

Our quarterly Epistle and this website continue to be our primary means of communication. This is our biggest expense and we consider it vital to the sharing amongst altar guilds, their members and the clergy they serve. We welcome news from diocesan and parish altar guilds while we solicit articles on topics of specific interest to altar guild. Click here to contact Lynn Hendricks, our President and Epistle Editor.

Our service ministry has sewn and sent six stoles to the Bishop of the armed forces, while our mission ministry reported sending emergency communion kits to Louisiana, Mississippi and East Tennessee. Click here to contact Alice Scarbrough, our Service Ministries Chair.

Our first Vice President, Dianne Walters brought the board up to date on the upcoming Triennial meeting, which will be held during General Convention, July 2018 in Austin, Texas. Our theme comes from the Book of Common Prayer, “Send us out to do the work You have given us to do.” The tentative schedule of the convention will impact how we schedule our meeting, but our goal is to give everyone the privilege of serving on altar guild for Eucharists without missing any NAGA workshops or speakers. A limited number of scholarships will be available. Click here to learn more about NAGA Scholarships.

This is also the time when we begin to think about our next board. Who will lead us 2018-2021? Having served on this board in more than one capacity over the years, I can attest to the joy I’ve gained from serving with people from around the country in support of altar guilds in every parish, diocese and province. It takes a certain amount of knowledge, a good deal of dedication and a love of our ministry. The rewards are well worth it; I encourage you to pray and consider, “Are you being called?” Or, do you know someone who is qualified and needs only to be asked? Click here to contact our Nominating Chair, Sarah Hill.

Fellowship and connecting with those we haven’t seen in a year continues to bring us together spiritually as well as physically. We were happy to celebrate the 85th birthday of long time member Dolores Miller with cake and ice cream at the close of our time together.

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