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Saturday, March 22, 2014

VGEC Training Committee in the Spotlight

Immediate Past President Margaret McLarty presenting Vyonne Carter-Johnson of Grace Episcopal Church, Houston with her training course certificate and virge at the 2013 Annual Conference in Nashville, TN

Bill White, chair of the VGEC Training Committee, manages one of our truly important guild functions – how we provide opportunities for verger training via the VGEC Training Course.

A bit of history always helps our perspective. In the early days of the VGEC there was a hope that we would develop a course of training for vergers similar to the course long offered by the Church of England Guild of Vergers (CEGV). The classic structure and content of that course has prepared hundreds of Church of England vergers for their ministry.

It took exactly ten years from the founding of the VGEC in 1989 until the first class of three vergers completed the course in 1999. Those first three were Dianne Betts, St. Michael & All Angels in Dallas, Dr. James Boyd, St. Marks Cathedral in Shreveport, and Toby Griffen, St Andrews in Edwardsville, IL.

Countless questions have been examined during the process of developing the course and in the fifteen years that have followed. Who would administer the course? How much would it cost? What would the course include? Who would serve as mentors? How would the course be evaluated? What would the vergers who completed the course receive and how would they be recognized?

The course has gone through several editing and review updates although the outline of the course is essentially unchanged since the first version. Kate Pendzuk was appointed Training Course Registrar in 2009 and does a tremendous job administering the course and maintaining the roster of course participants. At her most recent report, we have 271 vergers who have successfully completed the course to become “Fellows of the VGEC” and 445 vergers are registered in the course.

In 2011 Walt Kindergan, verger at Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Florida, became the Training Course Mentor. Walt helped to edit and review the course, aligning it with contemporary liturgical practices. As a result, the current version of the course was published in 2012. It begins by surveying the extensive guild resources available to guild members and is strengthened with a narrative “notes” guide to course completion.

Last year, the Training Committee was established. It initiated a long-term review of all guild training efforts including the course itself, training topics presented at the annual guild conference, and training assistance to guild chapters. The committee also began to think about new ways that the course might be distributed beyond the physical notebook and printed pages. We have started the distribution of the course in PDF format and we are looking to standardize that process over the coming months.

Many of the same questions occur today that happened when the course was first envisioned and published. The committee continues to work on these issues and others that come about as part of the planning process for the course.

The committee is considering a possible online version of the course and recognizes the need for a training course “cadre” to offer support and dialogue opportunities for course enrollees. If you are looking for an activity/role supporting VGEC course enrollees, please contact any member of the training course committee to help us develop and administer the new course delivery model. We encourage every member of the Guild to consider this meaningful and fulfilling commitment.

The Training Committee currently has five members, appointed by the board of directors. They are:

Bill White – Chairman, Guild Secretary, and Board liaison
Kate Pendzuk – Training Course Registrar and Board member
Duke Duteil – Guild Treasurer and Board member
Walter Kindergan – Guild member
Kent Wingerson – Guild member

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