Parish Ministries and Organizations
Christ Church is an energized community of faith with many opportunities for lay people to find a niche that suits
their particular talents and temperaments. Below are some of the organizations and ministries in which you can take part.
The duties of the Altar Guild are to prepare all things necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist and other Sacraments of the Church, so that
they may be conducted in decency, order and beauty. Duties include setting up for all services of Holy Eucharist, maintaining the Altar and sacristy,
caring for all Altar linens, vestments, vessels and other supplies necessary for the service. At Christmas and Easter, the entire Guild gathers to prepare
and decorate the Church. We have "teams" of workers of three ladies who are on duty every five weeks. The team prepares the Church for all services
during the week the team is scheduled. We are always looking for new members. If interested, please contact Cheryl Leong at 401-596-3008.
Architecture and Property Committee
The Architecture and Property Committee is a Standing Committee of the
church and is responsible for the overall maintenance of church properties including the Church, Parish Hall, and grounds. The duties of the committee,
as assigned by the Vestry, include but are not limited to:
- Conduct studies and recommend to the Vestry the approval or disapproval of proposed interior and exterior changes,
permanent decorations, furnishing and memorial, and;
- As necessary, consult with the Architectural Commission of the Diocese or other qualified authorities as it may deem
- Periodically examine all tangible property of the Church and call to the attention of the Vestry the need for repairs and/or
- Report annually to the Vestry the conditions of Church property, with recommendations, if any.
The committee presently consists of eleven members: Shirley Andrews (Sr. Warden, Chair), Denzel Andrews, Dave Bono, Eric
Dunham, Anne Eaton (clerk), Leon Millis, George Mont, Lynn Mortoro, Glenn Mortoro, John Wilks, and Pam Young. Any hearty
parishioners who feel skilled both physically and mentally are welcomed to join this robust committee. Please contact Shirley Andrews or other committee members for further information.
Christ Church Acolytes
Our modern word "acolyte" comes from the Greek "acolytos" meaning "attendant" or "helper". Tradition places the roots of this
ministry in the Old Testament, where Samuel served Eli the priest (1 Samuel) and Elijah the prophet was served by Elisha (1
Kings). Acolytes can therefore claim to be continuing one of the oldest traditions of the Church.
At Christ Church, acolytes range in age from 8 to adults and act as processional torchbearers, crucifers and altar servers, and
assist the clergy at all Eucharistic services as well as weddings and funerals. It is one of the few ministries available to our young people for active service in our worship life.
Christ Church Choir
The Christ Church Choir, which has been under the direction of organist and
choir master George Kent for over 53 years, exists to serve the glory of God through worship in music. The volunteer choir consists of adults and children
over the age of eight who sing in the regular weekly choral Eucharists throughout the year. To prepare for these services adult members rehearse
weekly on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8:15pm and for one hour before each service sung. The children in the choir rehearse twice weekly, Mondays
and Fridays, boys from 3:45 – 4:45 and girls from 4:45 to 5:45, and again on Sunday mornings with the adults before each service.
Along with the regular weekly services, the choir sings two services of
Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas where in each service 9 lessons are read and the choir sings corresponding carols. Our Lessons and Carols
services are inspired by those of King's College Cambridge and feature traditional favorites and new music as well. The choir also sings Christmas
Eve and Christmas morning, Ash Wednesday and all of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and three
services on Easter Sunday. Along with these services, the choir often sings choral evensongs throughout the year as well as weddings and funerals.
Every August for the last 45 years, Mr. Kent, along with the adults of the choir, staff a week-long choir camp in New Hampshire
for the children of the Christ Church Choir, along with the children in the Chorus of Westerly of which George Kent is also the
founding music director, where the children learn the music for the coming year and enjoy many exciting, invigorating, and
exhilarating camp activities. The week-long camp is held at Camp Ogontz in Lyman, New Hampshire on beautiful Lake Ogontz overlooking the White Mountains.
Christ Church offers a rare opportunity for children ages 8-18 to sing in the choir and learn to sing beautiful music every Sunday
. The children sing with the adults each week with a "bird's eye view" from the gallery. Mr. Kent is always seeking new child singers to join this dedicated group of joyful volunteers.
Please consider joining the Choir for a musical and spiritual experience unlike any other.
Christ Church Crafters hard at work on projects for next year's bazaar. This is a group of people who enjoy making items to sell at the annual bazaar.
Anyone is invited to come and be part of the group.We meet weekly in the fall winter and spring.
Environmental Stewardship Committee
The Environmental Stewardship Committee has a role in the stewardship of God's environmental creations including the natural world that surrounds us.
Our activities and discussion focus on our footprint in our world and care for its future. Education of our parishioners, especially including the children, is a
regular focus including projects to save energy and learn about our place preserving nature. Favorite activities in recent years include a guided tour of
the flora and fauna of Wilcox Park by the Sunday School classes, in conjunction with Earth Day in the spring as well as projects such as the
placement of "lights out" reminders by our parish light switches, to save
energy and the parish budget. We also participate on the diocesan level with environmental committees and the Interfaith
Environmental Council, which offers workshops such as "Calculate your Carbon Footprint". Meetings are announced on the website and in the bulletin.
The Finance Committee
The Finance Committee is a Standing Committee of the church and is responsible for the following:
- Preparation of the annual budget
- Oversight of fund raising activities
- Annual investment portfolio review
- Annual insurance coverage review
- Providing advice to the Vestry on all financial matters
The Committee is currently comprised of eleven members, including Katherine Hoxsie (chair), Fred Allardyce, Denny Andrews,
Shirley Andrews, Ellen Bell, Fred Eaton, Heather Kiss, Doug Lawrence, David Nolf, Richard Semeraro and Seth Tulman.
The Friendship Ministry
The Friendship Ministry, under the auspices of the Pastoral Care Commission, is an outreach ministry that extends the care of
Christ Church to members of the parish who are homebound; coping with loneliness, grief, or long-term illness; or otherwise in
need of pastoral care. Friendship Ministers offer a "ministry of presence" to their ministry "friends" through good listening skills and the ability to offer them compassionate and empathetic support.
Upon completing a brief training program and being commissioned into The Friendship Ministry, each Friendship Minister is paired
with one or more "friends" by the Rector after consultation with the Coordinator of Friendship Ministers. Friendship Ministers
meet from time to time to share experiences, learn from each other, offer each other support and engage in additional training.
If you know of anyone in the parish who could use a friend or if you have an interest in becoming a Friendship Minister, please
contact Grant Hutchins (401-348-6776) or the parish office (401-596-0197).
Gardens and Grounds Group
The Landscape Group, sometimes known as Gardens and Grounds, is an informal collection of people who care about the appearance of the church's
property and have some combination of time, energy, expertise, and occasionally muscle to do something about it.
Two years ago some of us, with a lot of advice, developed a landscape plan
for the property, and this has served as a guide for our efforts since then. We meet about once a week on Tuesdays, schedules permitting. We have
removed overgrown bushes from around the base of the church, arranged to have several large trees trimmed, created and rejuvenated gardens and
planters with roses, herbs, and other happy bloomers, and have done a massive amount of clipping and general tidying-up.
If winter ever ends, spring will find us enlarging the front garden, doing
general winter cleanup, and welcoming anyone who would like to join us.
The Hospitality Committee provides coffee, tea and "goodies" every Sunday morning from; 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the
Parish Hall. We provide the lemonade and cookies under the "lemonade tree", on the lawn during the summer months. We host
the receptions after the two Lessons & Carols services during Advent and Christmas. We are also the "go to people" for
questions etc., concerning the kitchen. We welcome anyone interested in helping us out.
Co-Chairs: Judy Kelmelis and Marion Leddy
The Investment Committee oversees the parish's several portfolios meeting periodically with our investment advisor. Several
accounts, other than those managed by our advisor, generally invested in short-term instruments, also come under the Committee's purview.
This group knits and crochets hats, sweaters, scarves, afghans, mittens and baby sets. Most of these items are created for the church bazaar, but some are donated to local charities.
Lay Eucharistic Visitors
This is a group who has been licensed by the Diocese to bring Communion to the sick and shut-ins on a regular basis. We work
with our clergy in determining who needs a visit, and most of us have one particular Sunday each month for visiting. The
training for this ministry is provided by the Diocese. We are also required to attend Safe Church Training, also provided by the
Diocese. Anyone interested in this really special and fulfilling ministry is asked to please speak to Mother Christine.
Lectors/Lay Eucharistic Ministers
Lectors are members of the congregation who read the first lesson and the psalm at the Eucharist on Sunday mornings. Lay
Eucharistic Ministers are the men and women who read the second lesson, the prayers of the people, and most importantly
administer the chalice during Communion. There is some training needed for this ministry and is provided within the parish. New
members are always welcome. Speak to either Mother Christine or Debby Musto if you are interested in this ministry.
The Memorial Garden of Christ Church is a place for the interment of ashes of loved ones as well as a place for quiet contemplation or meditation. The
garden is maintained by a committee of dedicated parishioners who plan, plant and care for the plants and structures of the garden. Memorial pavers,
which comprise a pathway through the garden, are available for purchase and help fund the costs for upkeep of the garden. We welcome new members
to the committee who have an interest and desire to help maintain this lovely garden. Please contact the church office if you have any questions regarding the garden committee.
Peace and Justice Group
The Peace & Justice Group at Christ Church was formed in 2005, looking for
alternatives to accepting war, violence and social injustice as a given condition. We attempt to look at our responsibilities around these issues in
the light of our Christian Faith, but also through other Faith traditions. We have sponsored a number of guest speakers, including a Buddhist monk, a Quaker activist, a Franciscan priest, a Muslim teacher
, members of the R.I. Institute for the Study of Nonviolence and the Voluntown Peace Trust. As peace, justice and
environmental issues are all connected, we also look at the politics of food, water, energy and climate change. Of late, we have
concentrated on showing movies on these and related subjects. Our programs are usually on Sunday afternoons, include
refreshments, and engender lively discussions. We're always open to new ideas and new members.
The Personnel Committee is the primary resource for developing, maintaining and overseeing standard personnel practices for
the Corporation. It performs such duties as is assigned to it by the Vestry, including but not limited to: (1) develop, maintain
and oversee personnel policies and procedures; (2) prepare and maintain job descriptions for paid lay staff positions; (3)
implement legal and safe practices for the Corporation as required by the rules and canons of the Diocese and The Episcopal
Church USA and by applicable laws and (4) serve as a general resource for such other personnel matters as may arise from time
to time. The membership of the Personnel Committee includes a chairperson and other members as appointed by the chairperson.
Public Relations Committee
The mission of the Public Relations Committee is to inform and educate the local community about the vitality of Christ Church
which can be experienced through its worship, music, study, outreach and play. In support of this mission, the PR committee
provides assistance to Christ Church commissions and organizations seeking help in promoting their ministries, events and
activities. The assistance can take the form of poster & ad creation, placement of event announcements on local media event
calendars, development and distribution of press releases, and placement of event information on the large temporary swinging
sign positioned in front of the church. For any group seeking help in getting the word out about an activity or event, please feel free to contact Roger Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spiritual Life Commission
This group works closely with our clergy and provides various book studies
and programs focused on the spiritual life of the parish and the individuals who make up the congregation. We meet once a month on the last Monday
of the month. Right now there are 10 members of the commission but we are always ready with a warm welcome to anyone who would like to join us. We
also appreciate input from the parish and would really like to hear what anyone would like to see happening for a study course. Please feel free to
speak with any of the members or call Paula Niedmann at 596-5434. Current members are Debbie Musto, Heather Kiss, Ellen Dodge, Julie Miller, Susan
Dowd, Marlies and George Parent, Mary Tulman, Shirley Andrews, Dana Semeraro, and Paula Niedmann, convenor.
Stained Glass Committee
The Stained Glass Committee's mission is the preservation and restoration of
Christ Church's magnificent windows. There are fifty-eight stained glass windows of various ages and styles of which eight have been fully restored
and protected. There are five remaining windows that require restoration. The restorations are funded through donation, memorial gifts, and fund raisers.
The Stewardship Committee is responsible for education of our parishioners
about what Christian stewardship is. The main points include:
- A belief that God is the Creator; he created all things and continues to do so.
- Everything belongs to God.
- We are offered the role of caretaker/manager/steward of God's Creation. This includes (at least) concern for our natural
resources, the environment, our fellow human beings and ourselves.
- God's church is a primary resource/channel for implementation of our personal stewardship.
- Offerings of time, talent and treasure are really offerings of ourselves to the role of steward of God's Creation.
- Motivation for a life of stewardship derives from our realization of what God has done and continues to do for us AND our
desire to offer our most sincere Thanksgiving for those gifts.
The Stewardship Committee also plans, along with the rector, the annual campaign (usually held in the fall) and the
acknowledgment of personal commitments of time, talent and treasure.
As the first representative of Christ Church the worshipper is likely to meet
when entering the church, the usher's/greeter's role is a very important one. They are the parish "hosts" in welcoming friends and newcomers to assure that everyone feels "at home."
Ushers are assigned, for the most part, on a monthly basis for the Sunday
services. Greeters are assigned to the 5 pm Saturday service.
If you are interested in participating in this meaningful ministry, please speak to Paula Niedmann, scheduler for the ushers.
Christ Church has a committee who mission is to provide a welcoming
environment for newcomers and promote a warm and friendly atmosphere in our church community. We welcome newcomers at our church services by
presenting them with a loaf of bread at the service and then a follow up call or visit by a member of the committee. We plan parish events to create
esprit de corps among all parishioners and promote any other ideas that we feel will help to accomplish our mission.