Parishioners at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church are sure to remember one of their own when they take a wafer during communion services.
A hand-tooled bowl made of silver by an Aiken native was commissioned by family and friends of the late Mary Bess Epps, a long-time church member and volunteer, and will be blessed during a special service on Wednesday.
The bowl, designed and created by silversmith Kaminer Haislip, is a ciborium, which is used to hold communion wafers.
St. Thaddeus parishioner Jill Ryon said those close to Epps looked for years for an appropriate memorial to honor Epps’ service to the church and its congregation, but no ready-made piece could be found.
Haislip, whose silversmithing studio is located in the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, was then commissioned to design and create the bowl.
“Kaminer met with members of the Altar Guild to view the silver communion vessels already in use at St. Thaddeus. She then designed and made a bowl that would blend with the older silver in use. The base bears the engraved inscription, ‘Given in loving memory of Mary Bess Elliott Epps 1944-2005 by her family and friends,’” Ryon said.
The Haislip family recently presented the bowl to St. Thaddeus.
Haislip is the daughter of Det and Lyanne Haislip.
“(Mary Bess) will always be remembered as a dear friend and neighbor,” Lyanne said. “(Haislip’s) heart and spirit did go into making that for Mary Bess.”
The bowl is polished to a glossy sheen on the exterior, but the interior is pitted with tool marks.
Father Grant Wiseman, rector at St. Thaddeus, said the bowl perfectly mirrors people theologically. No matter how perfect and smooth a person looks on the outside, a “brokeness” exists inside and comes out.
The bowl will be blessed during the Choral of Evensong service at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Thaddeus. The service honors St. Luke, patron saint of physicians and medical professionals. The public is welcome to attend.
Ryon said Epps was a dedicated and supportive friend. She served on the Altar Guild and headed the Wedding Committee for many years. She trained and worked as a Stephen Minister during and after her surgery and treatment for cancer. She worked for years in the operating room the old Aiken Hospital, then Aiken Regional.
“Her desire and willingness to serve others was nothing short of amazing,” Ryon said.
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is located at 125 Pendleton St. S.W. and can be reached at 648-5497.