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Friday, July 18, 2014

A Verger Goes to New York City

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York City

By David Todd, Verger at St. Richard's Episcopal Church, Round Rock, TX

David Todd, named outstanding student for 2014 at Texas A&M University, and Verger for Lay Eucharistic Ministers at St. Richard's Episcopal Church in Round Rock, TX, was in New York City this past weekend. He reports on his experience visiting the largest cathedral in the United States, and by square feet, the largest in the world.

"This week I visited New York City for the first time to see my sister. She lives very close to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. I decided I would visit the cathedral and attend Morning Prayer.

"I arrived quite early and found myself alone under the 124 foot height of the nave. This cathedral is truly massive. If you have not been there, make it #1 on your "bucket list". Under construction since 1892, the Cathedral’s highest point reaches 232 feet and has an interior foot print of 121,000 square feet."

"As I stood there looking around, I remembered from a college art history class that cathedrals such as this one were built on such a large scale to convey the power of God and the Church to the masses. Standing there, I kind of felt like it worked. I felt quite intimidated and small; even lonely. It did not seem inviting at all, which a church should be. Right?"

"Soon a handful of other people arrived and welcomed me with open arms. Morning Prayer was held in one of the absolutely beautiful chapels. The service was small, intimate and I was a part of it. I no longer felt intimidated and lonely. In a little nook of that massive structure I celebrated and worshiped God with complete strangers from other cities, states and countries."

"After the service, I found a small bakery across the street to have coffee. As I sat there, watching the church and the area around it come to life, I thought about the loneliness and the "togetherness" I had experienced that morning. I thought about the thousands that have been involved over the life of the Cathedral to bring it into existence and the love that pours out into the community around it through the multitude of services offered and events held there. It is really not a lonely place at all. I was the one that had made it that way because of my own smallness."

"This Cathedral does convey God’s power, just not in the way my professor described it. Such is the power of God that I was reminded by this place it does not matter that I am small because the people inside remind me that where ever we go, we are not alone. We are a part of the family. We all belong to in Jesus. This to me is at the heart of being a Verger."

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Abstract: An experienced litigator, who grew up in the Diocese of Dallas as an Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian goes to the Big Apple for the first time. Find out where he landed for Morning Prayer and the extremes of emotion that he experienced.

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  1. David, St. John the Divine Cathedral is my favorite. I have had the joy of visiting a few times while on vacation in NYC. Thanks for sharing and I can't wait till that place is complete.
    I am a Verger at St. Mary,s Cathedral in Memphis, Tn.

  2. I was there for a dinner at the Bishop's residence (reception before) at the Close...afterwards. All that's in the back and you need a tour guide to find your way . The nave was still under repair after that devastating fire earlier. Huge mounted photos of the destruction were all around and the organ was still being repaired/overhauled. It was hard to believe the damage done. I probably would have fainted dead away had I been there for a service due to the sheer massiveness and majestic-ness if there is such a term. If not, you just learned one. As the verger said...it should be on your bucket list if you've never been there and done that !


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