Welcome to the Vergers Voice, the official news blog of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church. Also known as the VGEC, we are located on the web at vergers.org and facebook.com/vergerguild the #1 online resources for vergers world-wide.

For information about submitting news and announcements to the blog, click HERE or contact [email protected].

Friday, August 31, 2012

Church of England Guild of Vergers Elects General Secretary

Stephen Stokes, General
Secretary of the CEGV
Stephen Stokes grew up watching his father and his grandfather perform verger duties, feeling a call to the clergy, but resolving that he never wanted to be a verger.

So how does a nice young man who has no interest in following in his father’s vocation get elected General Secretary to the Church of England Guild of Vergers (CEGV)?
He answers, “While working for customer services of a Gas supplier that was relocating I started looking for another job and saw an advert for Verger at Westminster Abbey,
London. It interested me and I applied and came in second. I think it was at this point I realized that this was my path and started travelling it.”

“My first position as Verger was at StMarylebone Parish Church in London, where I was a lone Verger.  I remember that I also came in second in that interview as well!! However, the person who was appointed was unable to accept the position and I was then offered the role. Which I happily accepted.“

“Looking back I think needed to come in second as I was beginning to get over-confident that the job was mine. Perhaps I needed a bit of humility. After three years I moved to be Verger of Romsey Abbey, Hampshire. Where I had a small team of volunteer Vergers, and then after three and a half years, I moved to be Chapel Clerk and Verger of St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge (part of Cambridge University), where I have been for now over five years and still love each day.”

“My initial training as a verger I suppose was my father and grandfather however I also spent time with Tom Cameron, then Canons Verger at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, who taught me about Vergering and how not to strangle yourself while Vergering clergy (he used the analogy that if you have a length of string tied to the end of your Verge and then to your clergy’s neck, this should then mean as you turn you should not wrap the string round your own neck).  I also went up and spent a week with James Armstrong, Head Verger of Carlisle Cathedral, where he taught me the general running (of a parish church) and day to day duties.”

“Aside from those, I have been trained by everyone within the Guild, whenever we meet up and exchange stories we all learn something new or something not to do!“

Stephen was planning to attend four “Branch” meetings across the Guild during his first term, in an effort to meet as many of the roughly 400 CEGV members as possible. His Branch meets four times annually, while the CEGV gathers three times a year at the Canterbury Province Festival, the York Province Rally and for the annual Training Conference. He says that the Festivals draw around 100 attendees each and the Training Conference has about 60 attendees.

Stephen’s father is currently verger at St Andrew’s, Enfield, London and his grandfather was Beadle of St Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham till his retirement then Verger of Birmingham Cathedral until his death.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vergers on Facebook: Check it Out

Have you visited the VGEC Facebook page? Go to http://facebook.com/vergerguild and give it a “Like,” then let everyone know what you are doing in your church or share a thought or photo.

Michael Sanchez, of Lake Oswego, Oregon recently answered VGEC Communications & Technology Officer, Scott Smith’s call for volunteers by taking responsibility for the VGEC Facebook page.

Michael, a music educator by training and vocation, became the verger at ChristEpiscopal Church in Lake Oswego after observing the vergers serving in the consecration service of The Rt. Rev. Michael J. Hanley, Bishop of Oregon.

Michael’s vision for using social media in the VGEC is one of creating an accessible social community for vergers and encouraging everyone to join a continuing conversation on and around our Christian liturgy. He sees his role only as a facilitator, saying that, “…the users are the real owners of the site.” He hopes that the page will appeal to vergers of all levels of experience.

We are encouraged to get on the page and play with the various components to see how they work. He reminds us that, “It is just software. You can’t break it.” So jump in and enjoy meeting and sharing with each other!”

The ideas Michael has for the page come from his collective experience with the many Facebook pages he currently visits in his professional life and from his experience as an educator and musician.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lakeland Preparing for the VGEC Annual Conference

Cheryl Cantrall, the VGEC Membership Secretary, says that sixty people have signed up so far to attend the 24th Annual VGEC Conference, beginning on October 11th 2012 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakeland Florida. This is where we share experiences and ideas, learn from each other, and celebrate our role as “Liturgical Logisticians” serving our rectors and congregations.

At this stage in the planning for the conference this is a great number of registrations. They are hoping to have over one hundred total conference attendees this year. Cheryl and Sid Glynn are putting on a “really great show” for us in October. Read on!!!

Thursday night, be prepared, if you dare, to try “gator wrestling” under the supervision of Tim Williams from Gatorland. It’s a simple strategy, grab the gator by the tail, pull it into the sand pit in the middle of the moat, straddle it like a horse (long pants advised), catch its mouth while shut and hold it there, then roll it over and lullaby it to sleep. Come on. You can do it! Worry not, the hospital is just a few blocks away. Upon your return from visiting the medics, the hospitality suite and Vergers Guild Shop will be open at the Terrace Hotel.

Friday, after Margaret McLarty’s President’s Report to the guild, there’s a workshop for you, from Verger 101, to baking your own Eucharistic bread, planning for parish security, developing a Liturgical Committee plan, or how one might meet a new priest who is unsure about the verger’s role in the parish liturgy.

At lunch we’ll welcome the Rt. Rev. Greg Brewer for our Keynote address. Later, we’ll travel by bus for award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine, at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa featuring their famous flamenco dance floor show.

Saturday, after learning about The Order of St. Luke and our annual business meeting, stroll through the city using the Lakeland Walking Map and later, make your way out to the Lone Palm Golf & Country Club for the awards banquet, tropical style.

Sunday morning, after vesting, the official conference group photograph will be made. Then we’ll get organized for the Procession of Vergers at the Choral Eucharist. After the service, farewell and best God’s Speed home to prepare for our Nashville Conference next year.

A few administrative details:
  • Those needing special diet should notify Cheryl Cantrall or Syd Glenn. 
  • No coconut bras on guys at the Saturday banquet, otherwise best tropical atire. 
  • Whether you are flying to Tampa or Orlando, the travel to Lakeland will take around 90 minutes whether by Super Shuttle or rental car. Tampa, generally has lighter traffic. 
  • Great deal at the conference hotel, $89 per night!!! 
  • Shout out to Bill Gleason and Scott Smith for overhaul of the Vergers Guild Shop. More on that later. 
Conference details: vergers.org/conference/2012

The Terrace Hotel, 329 East Main Street, Lakeland, FL 33801, 863.688.0800, terracehotel.com

Conference Chair - Cheryl Cantrall, [email protected] , 863.644.9806

Co-Chair and Registration Coordinator - Sid Glynn, [email protected] , 863.644.5170