Volunteer Spotlight: Ward Briggs

Our Volunteer Spotlight this month shines on Dr. Ward Briggs, the Chairman of the Cathedral Docent program. Recently I was fortunate enough to meet with him and learn about his involvement in the Docent program and his many other areas of interest at Trinity.  

In the process I had an amazing tutorial from him about aspects of the Cathedral that were new to me (and I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable).  Therefore, I begin by encouraging you to sign up for a tour.  No matter how much you know about the church or how long you have been a member, I guarantee you will walk away saying “Wow”.  And you will have a new level of respect for the approximately 14 docents who lead the tours every Spring and Fall.

Ward Briggs is a native of Wilmington, Delaware where his father practiced medicine.   He moved to Columbia in the early two thousands to take a position at USC and, living downtown, was attracted by the history of our church and in awe of the beauty of the building and churchyard. He began attending services here in 2003, attending the 7:45 am service on Sunday, shortly after becoming a Lay Reader for that service. Along the way, as he met people and continued exploring the history and symbols of the church, someone suggested that he join the team of docents.  Recently, with docent Connie Britt, he extensively rewrote the guide to the Trinity windows, originally written by Sarah Hempley, and put it online so it would be easily available to the whole parish and community.

Following his interest in the churchyard and burial ground, he soon joined the Churchyard committee and has now put all the Churchyard records of burials, cremations and columbarium interments in digital form. He is currently putting names, locations, inscriptions and photos from the graves online and those will be available for the public to view soon.

Learning from new friends about the Sunday morning breakfast for our homeless and near homeless friends, he now serves on the second week team where his specialty is making grits.  And now, since he has energy leftover, he is an adult formation coordinator and a contributor to Trinity’s Cathedral Connections (see his article on page 5).

For a person who says “I didn’t meet people very quickly” Ward has lots of friends at Trinity, is involved in many different aspects of the church and easily shares his knowledge. In one short meeting, I learned the history of the baptismal font and the windows, the meaning of the color and stars in Seibels Chapel and many other things that will make my worship experience every Sunday much more meaningful.  A big thank you to Ward, for your continued dedication to Trinity.