You are invited before the service begins, during the prelude and during the postlude, to light a candle to acknowledge a personal joy, sorrow, or milestone at the table on the left front of the sanctuary. The candles are our gift to you.

This message leads our order of service every Sunday morning, and indeed, most weeks you'll see the thin tapers flickering behind our communal chalice. Some people fill out a card listing their joy/sorrow/milestone, and our Lay Pastoral Ministry Team responds according to the person's request.

In the spirit of Paul Harvey… And now, the rest of the story.

Our candles are dipped beeswax tapers, ordered by the case from the nuns of the Holy Nativity Convent. Our ushers keep the tray filled, and after the service, they put the candle stubs in a metal box. And then what happens?

Mina McDuffie

Mina McDuffie

For years beloved Emersonian Mina McDuffie collected those stubs and melted down the wax for new candles- little votives we gave to members as they moved away, and pillars that we might share with someone going through a hard time. When there was demand, a few pillars were available to buy in the bookstore.

Miss Mina died last year, and well, none of us could think about the candles for a while. The stubs started to pile up.

I asked Mina's husband Tom if he would transfer the supplies and knowledge, so our youth might take on this sweet ministry. Not only do the high school youth have a passion for helping out, but they have a vested interest–we send graduating seniors off with a votive and mini chalice.


Our youth creating new candles

Our youth creating new candles

And so last month, our high schoolers made their first batches of candles during their summer lock-in. The results were by no means perfect, but they are sweet. And a skill improves with practice–the youth look forward to future attempts.

May your day be one of sweetness, purpose, and light.

Katy Carpman
Director of Religious Education


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