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Friday, August 8, 2014

Recent Verger Commissions

Commissioning of Joe John, Verger at St. James Episcopal Church, Pewee Valley, KY Top row: The Reverend Jim Trimble, Rector, and Rev. Dr. Mary Abrams, Deacon
Second Row: Leonard Mackey and Vicki Mackey (of St. Alban's Church in Louisville)
Bottom Row: Mary Harding, past president of St. James' Daughters Of the King,
Joe John, and Judy Russell (Verger at St. James')

Joe John was commissioned, July 27th, as a new verger at St. James' Episcopal Church, Pewee Valley, KY. Traditionally, St. James celebrates the day of their patron saint every year. This year, in addition to the celebration of the day of St. James, Joe John's installation as the parish verger was celebrated. Two guest vergers, Leonard and Vicki Mackey, from St. Alban's in Louisville, added to this special day and they stayed to enjoy the St. James Day Celebration. Dr. Abrams presented the chimere to Joe, Judy Russell the verge, and Leonard Mackey the certificate. 

"While visiting my brother’s church in San Antonio, TX, Saint Luke’s, I attended a verrrry High Mass and I saw several folks dressed in interesting vestments carrying “sticks”. I inquired after the service and they told me all about themselves and their organization. I was really impressed, especially with the orchestration and attention to detail that went into this very solemn procession."

"I thought that this ministry was best for me, since I was always able to direct, produce, meet, greet, and keep things scheduled. Plus I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to move towards the diaconate or the priesthood — too old for that. I figured that as a cradle RC, still feeling my way through my newfound religion (I was received in 2012), that the verger was the best role I could embark on." 

"I started as lector at St. James and began serving as a lector and Eucharistic Minister, working on the Worship Committee, sitting on the Vestry as Junior Warden, and so I figured that the "Jack of All Trades" that I am should be perfect for the verger’s position."

"Looking to the future I hope for a continued role in working with all the lay ministers, developing a new acolyte program in consort with the guidance of our deacon, involving more adults in the acolyte position so we can demonstrate to the teens that it’s “COOL” to be an acolyte, torch bearer, crucifer, and more."

Joe retired from the insurance industry after 32 years of executive service. He lists, among many others, Steely Dan, Dave Brubeck, John Grisham, Star Wars, ET, The Godfather, All Jazz, Bourbon, Wine, Antiquing, and SCUBA Diving as his current interests. (Maybe another article brewing there eh?) 

Commissioning of Felix Lisewsky, verger at Emanual Episcopal Church, San Angelo, Texas
Rear: Acolytes L to R Hayden Best , Shelby Rowe, Samantha Howell, Nicholas Neighbors
Front: Curate, Fr. Jared Houze, new verger Felix Lisewsky, Fr. Matt Rowe, Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Felix describes his introduction to the role of verger and how he became one:
My wife Judy and I became members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo TX, 17 years ago. My journey to become a verger started by serving as Acolyte Master, singing in the choir, mentoring those wishing to be confirmed, Wednesday night cook, Adults Liturgy Guild, Student & Family Life Guild and Junior Warden. My interest started when our interim priest asked me to be a Master of Ceremony at a couple of special services. Not knowing what this was, I started reading and came across the word "verger". When our new rector, Fr. Matt Rowe, arrived I asked him about pursuing this ministry. He said he would like to have a verger. A short time later, in preparation for Fr. Jared Houze's ordination as our curate, we had two guest vergers scheduled to assist in the service. Fr. Matt asked me to make sure they felt at home and inform them what was going to happen during the service. They asked me what I did in the church and I when I told them their comment was, "You are a verger and you need to join the Guild". Fr Matt gave me his blessings and now I serve in this ministry with deep dedication. This is a far change from my 22 years in the USAF and 22 years in Sporting Goods Team Sales. Plus it took a New York guy and put him in the south. I have a wonderful wife Judy and two children, my daughter Lisa and son Greg.

Commissioning of Vivian Dawkins, verger at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Tomball, TX Heather Vancamp, Verger at Good Shepherd, Robert Askew, Verger at Emmanuel Episcopal Church Houston, TX Dick Johnson, Verger at Trinity Episcopal Church Woodlands,TX,  Vivian Dawkins, Rev. Dorothy Gremillion, Michael Faircloth, verger in our high school program, and Joe Sturdevant, verger mentor.

Vivian Dawkin's approach to service as a verger:
"I was led to become a Verger by the “still small voice of God”. After several months of watching our vergers, listening to this voice and resisting, I finally responded to a persistent feeling that I should speak to our Head Verger, Joe Sturdevant, to see if he thought it was something I could/should do. Joe didn’t hesitate. Within a week of speaking to Joe I had the first lessons. When I spoke to our Rector, Fr. Dan Dunlap, he agreed with Joe that this would be a ministry within the church where I could serve well and add to our small number."

"I also have served on the vestry for the last two and a half years and have been a Daughter of the King since 2008. I am a Licensed Eucharistic Minister and began my life and service in the Episcopal Church in this role in a small mission church in Oregon."

"This year marks my 43rd year as a Registered Nurse. I was educated at the University of Colorado Health Science Center in Denver, and completed a doctorate in nursing at Texas Woman’s University."

"Currently I am an adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing in the graduate program at Prairie View A&M University in Houston. During my career I was blessed to experience being a hospice nurse for 2 years and my clinical specialty is geriatrics. While serving as a hospice nurse I heard a chaplain refer to the work as “walking on holy ground”. I felt that way also and this experience was pivotal in my leaning toward the ministries that the Holy Spirit led me to experience."

"The more I studied the Book of Common Prayer, the more I knew I was called to this ministry. Some of the questions on the training quizzes were quite obscure, but once I found them I knew I had a more secure and in-depth knowledge the BCP." 

"Every time I serve as a verger I become more confident and secure. I thank Joe for his skills and dedication as a trainer of vergers, acolytes, and Eucharistic Ministers. He is a fountain of knowledge and exhibits always a deep respect for the role of verger and the link it serves to the priests and deacons in a parish. His understanding of the liturgy and his dedication to our rich liturgical history ensured that my training was comprehensive and complete. Now it will just take time."

Editor's Note: "Commissioning vs Installing"

To assure that we are more in line with the terms used in similar orders of worship found in the Book of Occasional Services and the Book of Common Prayer, we use the term "commissioning" over "installation". Examples are found in the Book of Occasional Services, beginning on page 179, "Commissioning for Lay Ministries in the Church".

The Service for Commissioning of a Verger can be found in the VGEC Document Library in the "Liturgies" folder.

For those being commissioned, the Guild can prepare appropriate commissioning certificates in .pdf format and email the certificate file to you for your local printing at Kinko's or other service providers. Contact [email protected] for more details.

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 check vergers.org for contact information on the alternative hotel: the Best Western Plus Burlington Inn and Suites. They have 10 rooms available so contact them very soon and use the promotional code "verg" conference.

Abstract: New vergers - reporting in. Read about three of them in this week's Verger's Voice. Do we "install" or "commission" new vergers? Find the answer in "Editor's Notes" just preceding the big red "Register On-Line" button.

Let us know what's happening in your church's verger ministry. We'd like to publish your verger story, history, observations and experiences. 
Please send your article ideas, or fully developed stories or news items about your own verger ministry or one nearby to [email protected]

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