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Friday, January 17, 2014

Verger Workshop at Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas

Kent Wingerson brings us up to date on a Verger workshop in the nation’s heartland:

"A gathering of eleven vergers and potential vergers attended a workshop at Grace Cathedral in Topeka, KS on Nov. 3, 2013. Kent Wingerson, on behalf of the cathedral and the Diocese of Kansas Liturgy Arts and Music committee, presented “got vergers?” which touched on the history of this ministry, and the varied responsibilities often involved. The agenda also addressed the various services and other ministries vergers coordinate with and help facilitate.

"The workshop was framed with the opportunity to worship in the Eucharist (with Baptisms) before and Evensong following, to observe how cathedral vergers function. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church also provided materials for all the participants.

"After a collegial lunch, processions and service duties were discussed, as well as resources available for verger training, and related vestments and liturgical accoutrements.

"We explained the division of procession and service duties for the normally scheduled two vergers, how to expand if additional vergers are involved for a major liturgy, and how to shrink the verger function if only one verger is serving.

"The topics we discussed included processions, verging during the liturgy, and attending to the Eucharistic vessels. For example, at Grace Cathedral, the beadle leads processions. The verger leads the Eucharistic ministers and clergy in the entering and departing processions. During the liturgy, lectors are escorted, the Gospel Procession is led by the beadle, and the preacher is verged to the pulpit. Our offertory customary denotes the beadle handling the alms basin while the verger leads the procession of alms and oblations. At communion vergers assist with vessel distribution and receive items back at the credence tables.

"This session was really worth the effort to prepare and conduct. All participants agreed that we must center on the activities and movements at hand and, above all,  “Stay Calm and Verge On!”

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