Here are some wonderful ways to get connected in ministries at Holy Comforter.
Worship & Music
Sunday Mornings Beyond Worship
Administration & Leadership
Children & Youth
Community & Fellowship
Worship & Music
Acolytes assist the clergy during services. From carrying candles and crosses during the processional to assisting with the preparation of the table, this role is vital to every service in the Episcopal Church. Youth in the parish may serve as acolytes beginning in the sixth grade. Training is provided a few times each year. Contact Nancy English Johnson.
The cornerstone of the parish’s music program is the Holy Comforter Choir, an adult ensemble of approximately 30 voices. While no previous musical experience is required to participate, an ability to match pitch is necessary. Additionally, a commitment to a weekly rehearsal and worship schedule (during the program year, September-Trinity Sunday) is expected. Singers in the choir do much more than “sing the notes;” they learn musical skills such as proper breath control, counting, and how to achieve a unified sound with their musical colleagues. Singers also learn about church history, the shape of liturgy, theology, and prayer through the music they prepare. Singing in the choir requires a commitment to excellence through work and determination, but the work is ultimately rewarding and satisfying. The choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings, 7:15-8:45 p.m., and sings weekly at the 10:30 a.m. Rite II Eucharist from September-Trinity Sunday, with occasional additional services. Contact Patrick Pope.
This ministry welcomes all ages and both men and women. Each person is assigned to a team and each team serves one weekend per month. Saturday morning the team gathers to prepare the church for Sunday by polishing brass, setting the table, distributing the bulletins, and other preparatory tasks. After the service, Altar Guild members reset the table and prepare for the next service and/or clean up the communion vessels and return them to storage. There are only 2 general meetings each year and training is provided. Contact Richard Stutts.
Boys & Girls Choir
The Holy Comforter Boys and Girls Choir, a chorister program for children was relaunched in 2012 under the guidelines of the Royal School of Church Music in America. Designed for elementary and middle school-aged children, the RSCMA model encourages Christian formation through music and regular participation in worship. During the program year, rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Contact Patrick Pope.
Eucharistic Ministers (EMs), lay persons licensed by the bishop and serving at the pleasure of the clergy, assist in administering the sacrament of Holy Communion. EMs serve the chalice (cup) of wine. Individual training and opportunities to shadow “seasoned” Eucharistic Ministers are provided for those new to this ministry. Group “refresher” training is offered twice a year. Church-owned white robes (albs) are available for use during services. A schedule is distributed to EMs indicating date and time of service (usually once or twice a month) at 8:00 and/or at 10:)0am on Sundays. Additional occasions to serve occur frequently, for example, during Easter Week, Christmas, and for weddings and funerals. Serving as a Eucharistic Minister is a vital and rewarding ministry. Contact Mother Amanda.
The Holy Comforter Handbell Choir is a group of individuals who are committed to the art of ensemble ringing. Through rehearsals during the program year (Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m.), the group prepares music to enrich the fabric of the Sunday liturgies; the choir rings in worship twice in the fall and twice in the spring, with other opportunities as announced. Much like singing in a choir, handbell ringers learn to work together to achieve a common goal. Ringers realize the importance of counting, listening, and physical coordination in perfecting their skills. Contact Patrick Pope.
Want to get Radical? Then join our hosts! The Hosting Ministry at Holy Comforter consists of teams who host services on a regular schedule. Aside from the typical ushering duties, our hosts are known for their Radical Welcome - actively inviting, welcoming and caring for visitors and guests. If you’re a “people person” who genuinely cares for everyone who walks through our doors, contact Nancy Webb to learn more. Contact Nancy Webb.
Holy Comforter’s vibrant music program is enhanced with a variety of instrumentalists, incorporated throughout the worship service. Musicians playing any instrument are invited to share their talent during Holy Comforter worship. Contact Patrick Pope.
Lectors and Intercessors
This ministry welcomes youth and adults, and even children who read aloud with confidence. Lectors read the lessons and/or “prayers of the people” at the lectern during services. The scripture readings are sent to lectors early in the week, allowing you time to prepare. A schedule is made and depending on the number of participants, you may serve approximately twice a quarter. Anyone with a love of Scripture and a good speaking voice can be a Lector. Contact Hank Schmulling.
Music at La Misa
Music is a vital component of La Misa, our Spanish language Holy Eucharist, which is offered on Sundays at 12:30pm. Music for guitar is currently provided, however musicians and instrumentalists are all types are invited to participate. Contact Gray Langley or Lauren Cavins.
The role of the verger simply stated is: to assist the clergy in the performance of their duties as they relate to worship in the parish, to be of assistance to parishioners and guests who worship in the parish, to assist in preparation for services and to see to the ongoing needs of clergy prior to, during and after services. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has said he can always tell when he visits a parish which has vergers because all the everyday things that need to be taken care of are done. In short, the things that make a service go smoothly are taken care of so that Clergy are relaxed and ready to lead worship, not having to be concerned about the nuts and bolts of the service. That's what vergers do, and that's what we vergers at Holy Comforter are trained to do, as unobtrusively as possible. Contact Bill Reed.
Sunday Mornings Beyond Worship
Christian Education Offerings (any topic)
We have numerous opportunities for learning and fellowship for adults at Holy Comforter. Whether you’re a new Episcopalian, a longtime parishioner or a visitor, you are invited to explore these educational programs, many of which are held on Sunday mornings after our 10:00 a.m. service. Grab coffee and join the clergy- or guest-led Forum. Past classes have included Faith & Science, Images of Jesus, Nonviolence and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, and History of the Bible. Contact Fr. John.
Coffee Hour Guild
Coffee Hour Guild provides refreshments after the 8:00am and 10:00am service to facilitate fellowship among parishioners. Volunteers brew coffee, set out tables, drinks and snacks, then perform light clean-up afterwards. The ministry has helped us connect with old and new friends alike. Contact Jessica Dunlap.
Comforting Treasures Gift Shop
Comforting Treasures providesthe opportunity to shop for faith-based gifts while supporting the mission and ministries of Holy Comforter. Most recently, funds have helped to offset the costs of the Senior Luncheons. The Gift Shop, located in the Atkinson lobby, is open on Sunday mornings between services and offers a variety of gifts for young and old alike. Volunteers are needed to operate the shop; no retail experience necessary – just a friendly attitude! Contact Karen Crane .
Cooking at Holy Comforter
During the school year breakfast is prepared by members of the “Spatula Ministry” of Holy Comforter. These volunteers provide an opportunity for fellowship and, of course, a tasty breakfast following the 8 a.m. service. Ideally, 4 members of the “Spatula Ministry” start setting up and cooking around 7:30 a.m. and usually finish with clean up by 10:15 a.m. Breakfast is served from 8:45-9:15. Breakfast is generally served mid-September to about the third week in May. We typically don’t serve on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or Easter weekends. In addition to purchasing cooking supplies, the “Spatula Ministry” has contributed money for Habitat Houses, Kanuga scholarships, pilgrimages & mission trips. Contact Jon Wood.
A Special Needs Ministry of Holy Comforter, EMBRACE provides support to families of children and young adults who are living in the Autism Spectrum or have other special needs. Once a year, the ministry hosts an Inclusion Sunday to raise awareness within the wider congregation. Contact Kirt Hibbitts, Susan Brooks or Denise Wells.
The mission of the Lazarus Team is to assist the bereaved with guidance at the church before, during and after a funeral service. We seek to provide a loving and comforting presence on a day that can be profoundly emotional and difficult. This team takes care of the family in order that they can take care of each other. The Lazarus Team also helps with a simple reception offered by the church (or with certain logistics of a catered reception, if that is what the family prefers). Contact Anna Smith or Bill Wilder.
Eucharistic Visitors are sent out, carrying a simple kit and communion prayers, at the end of the service prior to the post communion prayer and blessing. EVs take communion to those who cannot attend worship. Volunteers should have a basic knowledge of current events at the church which may be of interest to the person being visited. Each Eucharistic Visitor volunteers once a month or once every other month, making a visit which may last from 25 to 45 minutes. The timing of the visit may vary. Time is also devoted to lifting up the member to be visited in prayer prior to and after the visit. Training is provided, and experienced Visitors are available to mentor. Sharing the gifts of God with the people of God is a wonderful way to minister to souls who hunger to connect with God and our parish. Contact Wright Meyer.
The flower delivery ministry is Holy Comforter's own flower delivery service! We share the beauty and generous gift of our altar flowers with parishioners who need a little lift at home or who are celebrating an occasion. After Sunday services, the flower ministers break down the huge arrangements into smaller arrangements. The flower minister then delivers the arrangement and a note from the clergy to the parishioner at home as a surprise! Flower ministers also follow up with the donor to let them know who received the flowers. All vases are supplied and no flower arranging experience is needed! Each flower minister serves about once every 6 weeks. Contact Suzan Becker.
The Holy Comforter prayer network is intentional in remembering the needs of the parish within one's personal prayers and daily devotions. This ministry is coordinated through email and all that is required is a commitment to pray with and for the church. To join the network, contact Mother Amanda or Jessica Dunlap.
Administration & Leadership
The team works with a professional consultant throughout the phases of a campaign. The team must research the wants & needs of the church, assess costs, survey the parish to estimate how much parishioners could feasibly give and lastly embark on the actual fundraising. That is through one on one visits, group events and several other communication means. Campaign cycles are every 5-10 years. For more information about the current campaign, click here. Contact Suzan or Mark Becker.
Delegates to Diocesan Convention
Diocesan convention is an annual meeting wherein the business of and work of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is conducted -- budgets approved, resolutions discussed, committees appointed and business presented, etc. All clergy of the diocese are invited, and each parish sends elected lay delegates. The four delegates from Holy Comforter attend the weekend convention and vote on the business of the Diocese. To be eligible you must be an official member at Holy Comforter, confirmed, 16 or older, and faithful in attending worship, and in giving of your time, talent and treasure. Contact: Rector
The Board of Trustees for the Holy Comforter Foundation oversees the development, investment, and disbursement of funds in support of the mission and ministry of the parish. The Endowment Fund supports projects and activities for ministries including outreach, youth and children, education, and music. The Foundation Fund supports the upkeep of our physical plant. The board is composed of four to six members with staggered 3-year terms. To be eligible you must be a Voting Member of Holy Comforter, and appointed by the Vestry. Contact Foundation Board Chair, currently Gail Fennimore.
Front Desk Volunteers
These volunteers sit at the reception desk in the Van Every building to greet people and answer the phone. Often they answer simple questions and direct people to the right staff person or to Loaves & Fishes, if needed. While at the front desk, the volunteers may prepare children's clipboards and Sunday bulletins or occasionally help to assemble parishwide mailings. They are available to help the staff as needed. This ministry is offered Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some volunteers make a weekly commitment; others substitute as needed. Contact Penny Crawford.
La Escuelita Weekday School Volunteers
La Escuelita Weekday School provides a nurturing, age-appropriate environment for children ages 1 year through pre-Kindergarten. La Escuelita’s skilled, loving teachers utilize Creative Curriculum, using a dual-language English and Spanish approach. The teachers in each class work as a team, with one native English speaker and one native Spanish speaker. We welcome and appreciate volunteers who will work with our teachers, reading stories with the children, working in small groups to reinforce preschool skills, sorting and organizing artwork, or taking materials home to cut and prepare for the classroom. Contact Lauren Cavins.
The vestry is the lay governing board of our parish and are responsible for the financial condition and physical assets of the parish, as well as for hiring the rector and setting his salary. Twelve members each serve a 3-year term, with a fraction of the members changing each year to provide continuity. To be eligible you must be an official member at Holy Comforter, confirmed, 16 or older, and faithful in attending worship, and in giving of your time, talent and treasure. Nominations begin in September and elections are held each November at our annual parish meeting. Contact: Senior Warden, Russell Weil.
Cooking at Charlotte Shelters
Do you like to have a good time and meet new people while putting smiles on others’ faces? If so, you will enjoy these cooking opportunities with fellow parishioners and other volunteers at two Charlotte shelters. Contact Jim Stewart.
Charlotte Rescue Mission - When: the fourth Thursday of each month. Volunteers meet at Holy Comforter at 3:00pm and take food to the downtown Mission where they work with the Rescue Mission kitchen staff to prepare and serve a 5:00pm meal. Everyone is back at Holy Comforter by 6:00pm. Youth should consider this service opportunity.
Charlotte Men’s Shelter - When: the first Friday of each month. Adult volunteers meet at the Men’s Shelter on North Tryon Street between 3:30pm and 6:00pm, as their schedules permit, to prepare a meal. We serve at 6:00pm and are finished promptly at 7:00pm. Cleanup is done by Shelter staff.
English as a Second Language
Holy Comforter has a busy, well-attended English as a Second Language program that meets weekly on Wednesday evenings 6:30-8:30 p.m. during the school year. There is no cost for the classes or the materials. Church volunteer offer free childcare and tutoring for the ESL students’ children. English speakers can help with the conversation aspect of the classes as well as childcare or tutoring. Contact Lauren Cavins.
Loaves & Fishes
Loaves & Fishes is an emergency food pantry which helps families during short-term times of need. This county-wide program was started in the Holy Comforter kitchen over 40 years ago by one of our parishioners, Virginia Sampson. All clients are referred to us through the main L&F office which oversees the now 30 L&F pantries in Mecklenburg County. We are open Monday-Friday, 10am - 1pm to serve our clients. We work as teams (Monday team, Tuesday team, etc.), so "full-time" volunteers work one day a week with their daily team. Substitute volunteers work on an as-needed basis. There is wonderful camaraderie among the volunteers on the daily teams, and the rewards of serving our neighbors in need are immeasurable. Contact Sarah Lofton.
Outreach Support Team
The Outreach Support Team is a diverse group of individuals who have a passion to serve. We've been struck by these words of Jesus, from Matthew 25:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' "
There are so many needs that it could be overwhelming, so we focus on
? Healing Ministries (e.g., Embrace Special Needs Ministry) each Spring
? Feeding Ministries (e.g., Gardens, Loaves & Fishes, and Episcopal Farmworkers) each Summer
? Teaching Ministries (e.g., La Escuelita, book collections and Campus Ministries) each Fall
? Sheltering Ministries (e.g., Room in the Inn) each Winter
We meet monthly (second Tuesday of each month) to discuss ways to make this real, here and now, for our parishioners. Perhaps the best thing about this ministry is that we truly enjoy being with and working with each other.
We welcome anyone who would like to get involved for one meeting, one volunteer activity, one area of ministry, or the Outreach Support Team itself. Contact Edie Livingstone.
Room In The Inn
As part of our Outreach to the community, we provide warm and dry shelter and meals for homeless women, men and families from Saturday evenings through Sunday morning, December through March. We also have goals of providing a more personal relationship to homeless people, and fostering a deeper understanding within our Holy Comforter community of the issues that cause homelessness. As part of the personal side, we invite our neighbors to stay for the 8:00 a.m. service, and we accompany those who do stay. Room In The Inn operates under the auspices of the Urban Ministry Center. It is not meant as a permanent solution to homelessness; rather, RITI serves as a temporary, safe place for those without the means to provide for themselves. Contact Brad Patterson.
Children & Youth
Childcare for Meetings/Events
Throughout the year the church provides childcare for various events and classes dependent on the need. Paid sitters, as well as volunteers, are used to provide this service. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Children’s Chapel is designed for children ages 3 through the second grade at the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Service. The children sit with their families until the Gospel lesson, when they process out following a small wooden cross that is carried by one of the children. Adult leaders accompany the children to the parish hall for a time of storytelling, singing and prayer. At the passing of the peace, the children return to the church and join their families for Communion. This is a wonderful worship experience for our children and a fulfilling volunteer opportunity for any adult to lead chapel. Training and support are offered for chapel leaders. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Contact Sarah Cavins.
There is an infant and young children’s nursery available on Sunday mornings. This is staffed by paid sitters located in the Atkinson Building lower level. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School is held one week (Monday-Thursday) during the summer for 4 year olds and older to come together and have fun while doing crafts, playing games and experiencing the Bible as only a child can. Many children claim this as their favorite camp all summer. It is led by adult and teenage volunteers. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Youth Advisors work with middle schoolers and high schoolers at Holy Comforter in both formal educational settings and informal social events. Advisors teach Christian formation on Sunday mornings and run EYC (Episcopal Youth Community, or youth group) on Sunday evenings as well as assist with mission trips, pilgrimages, retreats, and other events. No formal educational background is necessary – just care and concern for our youth and a desire to help them to grow in their faith. Training and support are provided for all advisors. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Youth Pilgrimage/Mission Trips
On alternating years, eligible youth have the opportunity to participate in either a service trip or a pilgrimage journey of spiritual significance. All Christians by baptism are called to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ" (BCP, p. 305). Trips may center around outreach or fellowship. Through this work, participants develop Christian community with fellow Holy Comforter members and the larger world. Contact Sarah Cavins.
Community & Fellowship
The Connect Team’s mission is to match parishioners with ministries of Holy Comforter. There are dozens of ministries of the church and it can be difficult to find one that matches your time and talent: that’s where the Connect Team comes in. With a board in the lobby of the Atkinson Building highlighting different programs that need urgent support, a catalog of the ministries of Holy Comforter, and members knowledgeable about opportunities, we connect parishioners and ministries. Contact Anne Binns and Jessica Dunlap.
The Darrow-Owens Guild is a ministry for the women of Holy Comforter. The Guild represents a wide range of ages and backgrounds, just like the women in our parish, and generally meets the third Monday evening of the month for a potluck supper and program from September – May. To be added to the mailing list or RSVP for upcoming events, contact Mary Amos.
Women of the parish and their friends are invited to an hour of coffee, fellowship, prayer, and inspiration at the weekly Focus meetings. The group meets every Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. Contact Susanne Shaw.
Instituto de Liderazgo (Leadership Institute)
An opportunity for our Spanish-speaking members to go deep in forming connections with one another while exploring leadership in four areas of ministry: Christian Formation, Outreach, Pastoral Care, and Worship. Three or four sessions are scheduled on Saturdays throughout the year. We meet for coffee and morning prayer, study and conclude the day with lunch. Child care is provided. Contact Mother Amanda.
The Invite Team's goal is to help our parishioners feel comfortable inviting their friends to our amazing church. A personal, one-on-one invitation to our friends and neighbors to come experience what we know is so special about Holy Comforter differs from marketing which tries to appeal to the community in a broad way. We know it can be a little awkward inviting people to church, and we’re here to make it easier! Contact Wesley Little and Tim Cavins.
Holy Comforter’s annual parish retreat at the beautiful Kanuga Episcopal Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC, is a weekend not to be missed! The Kanuga Committee is responsible for planning and organizing registration, events, lodging, programming, childcare, and other logistics. If you love the Holy Comforter parish retreat, join this committee to help bring this to life. Contact Kathy Taylor.
The Knitting Group meets on the second Saturday of each month from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Atkinson building. Beginners are welcome! It's a great place to come and learn - just bring some yarn and needles. If you want some ideas on needles or yarn, our expert teacher, Sharon Patterson, is VERY patient. The group does some knitting and a lot of talking. We've recently gone out on "yarn crawls" that end up in dinner together. Contact Leslie Golden.
Holy Comforter Parents Connect is intended to support Holy Comforter families interested in raising children with a strong Christian foundation. True to our mission statement: 'We strive to connect families to God and each other, so that we can share and grow our Christian community by building meaningful relationships and supporting one another in our efforts to raise children of faith.' Beyond monthly meetings, we integrate with Children's and Youth Ministries, Loaves & Fishes, Room in the Inn, and many outreach opportunities. We also provide social outings for men, women, and families promoting to nurture our communal relationships. Contact Linda McDuffie or Mary Lindsay Evans.
Parish Life Team
In an effort to strengthen the bonds of our parish family, the Parish Life team coordinates activities throughout the year. From the Pentecost Picnic to the Fall Festival and the Oyster Roast, fellowship opportunities allow us a relaxed social atmosphere in which to build a strong faith community. The Parish Life team seeks any able bodied individual who is interested in assisting in set up and clean up for parish life events as well as those with ideas and interest in helping to plan future events with this ministry. Contact Kelly Sewell or Karen Francis.
Music, Eucharist and luncheons are offered on a quarterly basis for all seniors and their friends. Dr. Patrick Pope offers beautiful concerts, followed by Eucharist. Holly Williams and the cooking team delight guests with tasty and filling lunches. The fellowship is wonderful. Contact Holly Williams.
Tuesday Faith Group
The Tuesday Faith Group meets weekly (on Tuesdays!), from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in the Van Every building to share coffee and snacks and study. This group is a significant resource for those who participate not only for reading and discussing the Bible but also for sharing personal and community updates, challenges, successes and fun! The group openly recognizes the importance of having a place to sit and talk together about our lives. Bring your own Bible or use one of the collection on our bookshelf. Most weeks at least a few of the group go to lunch together after the meeting; new participants are a welcome blessing to all. Join us! Contact Susan Brooks.
Vocare is a men’s spiritual support group that meets in the Van Every Building on Fridays at 7:00 a.m. for coffee and fellowship. Those in attendance engage in study and share intercessory prayers. The group acts as the nucleus for men’s fellowship by promoting and sponsoring larger events for the men of the church at different times of the year. Contact Jim Muse.
The women of the parish are invited to an annual retreat. The retreats alternate between local, day retreats and weekend retreats at conference centers in the Carolinas. Women who wish to become more engaged with their Holy Comforter sisters will be most welcome to join the Planning Committee for our yearly Women’s Retreat, held every Spring. Expect one in-person meeting every 1-2 months until 8 weeks before Retreat, then plan to meet as needed. Also expect regular inter-communication within the Committee via phone, text, and email. No experience in event planning is necessary, but it will be enthusiastically welcomed! Contact Dawn Ireland.
Work Days/Facilities Committee
The Junior Warden and the Facilities Committee host a "Parish Work Day" in the Spring and Fall every year. Besides basic clean-up activities and gardening, there is breakfast, lunch, and fellowship with other parishioners. It is a great opportunity to work side by side with other Holy Comforter members while helping maintain the beauty of our campus and buildings. Contact Jon Wells.