Friday, July 4, 2014

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut - God's Mission for Vergers

Sandee Bullock, Liturgical Verger, St. John's Episcopal Church, Niantic, CT,
The Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, The Episcopal Church in Connecticut,
and Richard Lammlin at St. John's, Niantic, for the installation of The Rev. Anthony Dinoto, Rector,
and Sandee's first service as a verger



By Ken Holloway with Richard Lammlin 

Chapter development was emphasized as a major objective at the VGEC 25th anniversary conference in Nashville in 2013 . The VGEC Chapter Development Committee is responsible for Diocesan Chapters of the VGEC. Responsibilities include developing materials and standard procedures for groups interested in starting a chapter, providing VGEC resources including contact information for vergers in a diocese for chapter planning, and providing ongoing support through communication and training. 

With respect to his VGEC Chapter Development Committee Chair role, I asked Rich Lammlin what was happening with vergers in Connecticut and what (chapter) organization movement existed there. He responded with this great summary of the verger ministry at work in Connecticut.

"Vergers are small in number in Connecticut; actually, there are only fifteen of us at my last count. I’d like to increase that number if I can because in my four years of experience, the ministry of a verger is of immense help to both clergy and laity."

"I recently had the pleasure of serving at the installation of the Rev. Anthony Dinoto who is the new rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Niantic. Although this is not my home parish, I had been asked to serve with our diocese’s newest verger, Sandee Bullock, for whom this would be her first service to serve in this capacity. Sandee is an old friend who had inquired about becoming a verger to the Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Church in CT, at a recent parish visitation. During a breakfast meeting that week, Bishop Ahrens asked me about coaching Sandee.
I told her that I'd be honored to do so. Sandee’s husband, Benn, had been a great help to me as I worked my way through the training course several years ago!"

"Sandee and I spoke several times about her interest and finally met, together with her soon-to-be new rector, The Rev. Anthony Dinoto. We spoke about what vergers do and how we can assist clergy in a variety of ways. I’m certain that almost every verger job description in the world is different – and that is what makes this ministry so much fun! The key is discerning, with one’s rector, how the role of a verger can best be put to use in that particular worship community. It was fitting, then, that Sandee’s first official service was at Father Dinoto's installation. It was a wonderful night filled with beautiful music, joyful worship, and great anticipation of new ministries and new beginnings for that parish."

"Sandee has also agreed to help me contact other vergers in Connecticut about gathering together to form a VGEC chapter for mutual assistance, fellowship and training. We have 168 Episcopal churches in Connecticut and we are all, like you, part and parcel of God’s mission – and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in God’s mission in this very special and fulfilling way."

"Connecticut is moving forward under the direction of our bishops and is currently in the process of re-imaging ourselves. You probably noticed that I did not refer to us as a “diocese”. That is intentional. We are now “The Episcopal Church in Connecticut.”


There is no doubt that Rich, Sandee and new Connecticut vergers who are installed in the next year or two could make a real mark in the liturgical lives of a large number of Episcopal families. Can you imagine installing just one verger at 50% of the Episcopal churches in Connecticut? We'd be adding 70+ vergers to our ministry and providing support and growth to about 80 Episcopal Churches and their 8000+ members who worship every week. Now consider what the resulting 85 Connecticut vergers could do in visiting with Episcopal rectors up to 50 miles from each border in the neighboring states (Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts), to talk about the verger ministry.

If you are thinking about starting or re-starting a VGEC chapter in your diocese, email our chapter developers at [email protected].

Register for the 2014 Annual Conference being held September 25th through 28th in Burlington, Ontario by clicking on the big red button below. You'll have a great time and bring home a ton of memories that cannot be had any other way.
Register online today and call 905.681.5400 for hotel reservations with VERG as the discount code!


Abstract: The vergers in Connecticut are about to make a major difference in the liturgical lives of Episcopalians in Connecticut and its neighboring states. Find out how the VGEC chapter development team is working in one of our most active dioceses.

Please send your story ideas, anecdotal notes on your verger experiences or fully developed stories about your own verger ministry to [email protected]. There are more than a thousand stories out there. We'd like to publish yours.

Wanted: A new Verger's Voice publication team member who will help find stories, write stories, interact with and help our story contributors, envision ways to improve our blog publications and take on new themes as we expand our coverage. Write and tell me about your background and how you'd like to be a part of  The Verger's Voice team. Use my Verger's Voice email address: [email protected].


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