Church of the Apostles has a number of Guilds whose members (open to anyone in the church or from the community) focus on a given creative activity. Consistent with our vision statement, all Guilds offer an opportunity for fellowship and to invite others outside our church family to share their gifts. In addition, Guilds provide the opportunity to learn and grow in an art or craft through mentoring reminiscent of medieval apprenticeships. Our Guilds have an external outreach function as a bridge between our congregation and the communities we serve as well as an internal component providing for various needs within our congregation. Many Guilds will lend themselves to operating “in the marketplace.”
He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.
Exodus 31:1-11 describes craftsmen who were “filled with the spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” Called to construct the tabernacle based on God’s specific instructions, their tasks included making artistic designs in gold, silver, and bronze; cutting stones for setting (the type of work a jeweler does with precious stones or a stonemason with granite or marble for a great building); and carving wood (such as a sculptor, carpenter or cabinetmaker). The craft of making finely worked garments, priestly robes, and liturgical decorations for inside the tabernacle is also outlined. In the Old Testament and today, the instruction to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” is enhanced by those individuals gifted in creating a beautiful atmosphere of worship.
The Old Testament references a wide variety of craftsmen: carpenters; furniture-makers; boat-builders; carvers in wood, ivory, ebony, and alabaster; smiths in gold, silver, and bronze; weavers; tanners and leather-workers; carpet makers; basket weavers; sculptors; jewelers; glass-workers; potters; and more. Scripture also contains numerous passages about singing and music, including Psalm 150:1-5:
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
A Brief History of “Guilds”
The local church functioned as the central point of community life in Anglo-Saxon times, a dynamic that continued for centuries. The development of guilds during the later Middle Ages was a crucial stage in the professional development of artists. Within towns and cities various craftsmen – weavers, shoemakers, masons, painters, sculptors, and so forth joined together to form guilds that helped maintain quality control, train apprentices, and market their particular craft.
Some guilds originated from prayer societies, and it was also common for people engaged in the same occupation to gather together for worship and prayer. Guilds often took responsibility for providing other charitable services for their members and for their community. The Guild of the Holy Cross in Stratford-upon-Avon, for instance, ran a school, a hospital, and an almshouse.
We are in the process of developing our guilds. Check back soon!