by Ken Holloway, Editor of the Verger's Voice Blog [email protected]
It was a late Saturday night as I set the alarm for the next morning and put out my pocket contents, ready for a fast Sunday start. I was scheduled for Verger of the Day and Vestry Person of the Day duty, followed by our monthly vestry meeting.
I checked what I had put on my bedside table, “Let’s see now, wallet, watch, car keys, church keys, butane lighter, medication pouch, sewing kit, pectoral cross, prayer book, phone, coin change, pocket prayer beads, and Swiss Army knife. That should do it!”
The alarm went off as planned at 0545 hrs that cold Sunday morning. A quick shower was followed by toast, coffee and a kiss from my honey. Although the church is only 5 miles away, I prayed that the traffic would be light.
I arrived at St. Richard's a bit early at 6:45, unlocked the building, turned on the lights, checked the air conditioning system, checked the setup for eight o’clock Eucharist, started our coffee machines, put on cassock and surplice, lit the office candles, and led the morning prayer service at 7:15.
As the “eight o’clockers” arrived, I rechecked the reserve sacrament, set the readings in the lectionary book and briefed the LEM’s on the service, changed my surplice for my chimere, placed my virge at the head of the aisle, put new batteries in our priest’s wireless microphones, turned on the sound system and herded our altar party to the southwest corner of the narthex for prayer.
The 8:00 service went off without a hitch, so I entered the attendance in the register, took off my vestments and headed to the office to help with offertory accounting.
A famous “Round Rock Doughnut” and a cup of coffee helped me rally for the 10:30 Eucharist.
I re-set the lectionary, re-set the sermon text pages on the pulpit, reviewed the Altar Guild’s work, counted LEMs and acolytes, checked the reading assignments with the lectors, ID’d the acolyte assigned to assist in preparing the elements, and rounded up the choir to join us for prayer before the entering procession.
After the service, as I made the register entry, I remembered that I still had three events to go: finish Sunday vestry duty, attend the vestry meeting and prepare for and serve at our 5 P.M. Family Eucharist.
Our son called from North Carolina as I walked in the door just after two o’clock. Margaret and I enjoyed a long conversation with Chris and smiled proudly at each other as we hung up the phone. We had a sandwich; I brushed my teeth, and, stumbling to the bed, flopped down, instantly asleep.
I awoke suddenly only 40 minutes before the five o’clock service. Good grief, I’d forgotten to set the alarm! Launching into full blown “panic pace”, I re-loaded my pockets including aspirin, lighter, sewing kit, cough drops, extra microphone batteries.... you know the rest. I got my wallet, put car keys in my pocket, picked up my prayer book and cross and ran out to the car. As I started the car I realized that I had left the church keys on the night stand, so I turned the car off, ran back, opened the door, and stumbled over our cat as I skidded on the kitchen floor. At my bedside, I frantically pocketed the church keys, put on the watch I saw lying there, and maintained “faster-than-a-speeding-bullet” pace back to the car.
I zoomed to church, completed all duties of the evening service, and arrived home ready to relax.
I went to our closet, and as I took off my shirt, discovered......that I was wearing two watches on my left wrist.
At that moment, I realized that I had, this day, touched the threshold of Duteil’s 4th axiom, which, of course, we all know as, “Verger Standard Time”.