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Friday, September 5, 2014

Church of England Guild of Vergers 2014 Conference at Elim Centre in Malvern

By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager with Stephen Haude, Verger at St. Peter's, Hammersmith

The Church of England Guild of Vergers (CEGV) now holds its conference in Malvern, Worcestershire every year. This year 55 vergers and clergy attended the event in the middle of the Malvern Hills, two and one half hours NW of London.

West Malvern is a village and a civil parish on the west side of the north part of the Malvern Hills at the western edge of Worcestershire. Due to its altitude (up to 750 ft. above sea level) West Malvern has panoramic views of the rolling Herefordshire countryside. The village has a church, St. James, built in 1840 and a primary school (St. James Church of England Primary). The church is the site of the grave of Peter Mark Roget - author of Roget's Thesaurus.
St. James Church, West Malvern

Stephen Haude of St Peter's, Hammersmith, London, UK reports on this year's conference. He is one of three CEGV members who will attend our VGEC conference in Burlington, Ontario, just 20 days away. Be sure to find Stephen and company and offer your hands - "across the pond."

Stephen's first-hand observations of the CEVG conference are a delight:

"Our CEGV Conference was held over 5 days (4 nights) at our usual venue in the beautiful Malvern Hills. It is said to have the finest views in England. The Elim Conference Centre is a lovely country house with modern facilities, en suite rooms and wonderful food with all meals provided. Apart from the lecture room, we have full use of the beautiful historic church a few yards away where we hold all our services."

"The services covered all types of worship including Morning Prayer, Eucharist, Benediction, Choral Evensong, Compline and Taize. We tend to be on the 'high' side with incense etc. This is good experience for those of us who are 'middle of the road' when in our own churches. We try to give everyone a job to do at sometime during conference services, acolytes, crucifer, incense, verging, reading and singing (I was cantor - how I made the poor souls suffer)."

"We had interesting talks on the Psalms, 'The Bible in One Hour' by Revd Dr Simon Taylor and a wonderful performance by the famous Clown Priest, the Revd Roly Bain, known as the Holy Fool. This red-nosed apparition walked a tightrope whilst juggling and spinning plates. His whole act was threaded with a Christian message while our sides ached with laughter."

"The Verger's Arms" aka "The Brewer's Arms"
"During our free time some vergers took advantage of the outdoor heated pool. In the evening we would stroll half mile down the country lane to a traditional English pub (which we re-named The Verger's Arms) for some liquid fortification. It was a good conference with tremendous fellowship. I will be among the three of us who will be flying over the Pond to be with you all in Burlington. We can hardly wait!"

Register for the 2014 Annual Conference
 being held September 25th through 28th in Burlington, Ontario by clicking on the big red button below. Registration deadline is September 15th for consideration of full participation.  After that, if you register for the conference, you may not be able to attend all the sessions and/or the banquet.
Register online today and check vergers.org for contact information on the alternative hotel: the Best Western Plus Burlington Inn and Suites.  Use the promotional code "verg" conference. 

Abstract:  Imagine five days of liturgical exploration including, Morning Prayer, Eucharist, Benediction, Choral Evensong, Compline and Taize. All right we can see you scratching your head. So go ahead, look up Taize. And, mind you, don't stop in at The Verger's Arms Pub unless you ID as a verger. All this reported in this week's story on the Church of England Guild of Vergers annual conference at Elim Conference Center in the Malvern Hills.

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