For the last three decades, Ida Smythe has coordinated all aspects of our liturgical environment at St Raphael. Having worked previously at parishes that had very little coordination of decoration, when I arrived here last June I was happy to know that it would be well-taken care of. This last year I have come to appreciate Ida’s commitment, attention to detail, and willingness to try something a little different.
Last month, Ida let us know that she had decided to “retire” and step down as the coordinator of the decorating ministry. I hope that the next time you see her, you thank her for her many years of good service to the parish. She took care of so many things that just “happened” because of her, I think we are all guilty of taking her for granted. No longer!
Just to give you a sense, Ida coordinated the ordering and care of all flowers and plants, including for weddings. She managed the hanging, removal, and cleaning of all the fabric in the church, chapel, and atrium. She ordered ashes, palms, and candles. She made sure all of the vestments were dry-cleaned, and the altar cloths were clean and pressed. Every few months I would receive a task list from her to approve all of the changes, including the dates when things were being put up or taken down. She has maintained an unbelievable detailed record of her work over the years, including countless photographs. What she has done for us is beyond impressive, and hard to fathom for a volunteer.
That said, while we have several people involved in many of these ministries who can help fill the Ida void, reality is we are going to have to divide up responsibilities. Folks with all different types of gifts, organizational, floral, botanical, and even folks with muscles who can climb a ladder and hang stuff are all needed. As I begin to figure out how best to organize this ministry, let me know if you think you might be able to help out.
And, please join with me in expressing to Ida an enormous amount of gratitude for her amazing service to our community.
Submit your liturgical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jeff Rice, Pastoral Associate of Liturgy & Music