The Guild states its
objectives as follows: to raise the spiritual tone of altar servers; to promote
a conscientious performance of the duties of altar servers; and to encourage
more frequent attendance at the Holy Eucharist, in addition to times of duty.
open to any man or woman who is an altar server in the Church of England and
'accepts Catholic Faith and Practice'. (In the context of the Guild, Catholic is
understood to mean 'of the universal church' and NOT 'Roman Catholic'.)
The Guild is organised
into local chapters, each overseen by a secretary, who is a member of the Guild,
and a chaplain, who is a priest and thus a 'priest associate' of the Guild.
Chapters meet regularly: a typical gathering takes the form of a
specially-tailored version of Evensong called the 'Guild Office': this consists
largely of Psalms and Canticles sung antiphonally, culminating in the Magnificat
(Song of Mary) and a brief reading from the Holy Bible.
The Guild Office will
often be followed by a short address and perhaps Benediction. When undertaking
Guild activities, members dress in choir dress: typically a black cassock with a
white surplice, but sometimes a white or coloured cassock-alb according to local
usage. Members also wear a special 'Guild Medal' engraved with the text (in
Latin) 'I will go unto the altar of God', Introibo ad Altare Dei, which is the
opening line of a wellknown prayer said by those preparing to assist at the Holy
Eucharist. Those who are not altar servers are welcome as Friends of the Guild.