By Ken Holloway with Jane Dittrich and John Taylor
Jane Dittrich of Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC wrote about John Taylor's 20 years as a verger in the September edition of the Diocese of New Westminster monthly newsletter, Topic. Jane emailed VGEC president Scott Smith telling him about the upcoming article. She thought that we would be interested. She was "spot-on." An email conversation ensued around our desire to publish a synopsis of the article in the Verger's Voice with a link to the current issue of Topic.
John is the verger at St. Mary's Kerrisdale, Vancouver, BC. He chaired the committee which planned, sponsored and managed the VGEC Conference held in Vancouver in 2000.
Jane introduced John's story starting with his childhood:
"Call it a calling. When a friend informed John Taylor of a job posting at an Anglican Church in 1994, he felt as though life was purposely moving full circle. John, a cradle Anglican originally from Guelph, Ontario, had been inspired by the verger at his family parish of St. George's. There, John was a choirboy, a server (he was promoted to head server at the age of fifteen), and was president of that parish’s chapter of the Anglican Young Peoples' Association (AYPA). During this time, he mindfully observed the parish verger, and admired how he carried himself and how he subtly executed his ministry."
"John knew that he had truly found "home" in August 1994 when, after a successful meeting, he was hired as St. Mary’s verger, by (then rector) the Venerable Bill Stephens and the Parish Wardens. It was the opportunity to return to his Anglican roots, and in a vocational manner designed to fit!"
"In reflecting back on his twenty years as verger of St.Mary's, Kerrisdale, John is immensely grateful to have worked for, and alongside, a number of rectors: Bill Stephens, Matthew Johnson, Kevin Dixon, Paul Borthistle, and the current rector, Jeremy Clark-King."
Click on this link to read the entire September edition of Topic. Notice John's picture in the upper right corner of the front page. His story begins on page 8.
I emailed John and asked him if he would be at the conference in Burlington this year. I also asked him to comment on his ministry, looking back on his tenure at St. Mary's Kerrisdale.
He wrote back, saying: "Thank you for your email. I will indeed be attending the conference in Burlington in September. Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend the last few conferences and I am looking forward to this year's event and to catch up with old friends and new. I am pleased to see the conference being held in another Canadian city and recall, with fondness, hosting the annual conference in Vancouver in 2000."
"I have been given an amazing gift, the gift of being called by God to be the Verger of St. Mary's Kerrisdale Church in Vancouver. A gift of being part of an amazing community for this past twenty years. From the daily interaction with parishioners and neighbours, to the weekly interaction with the Kerrisdale Community Meal guests and volunteers, I have been so richly blessed by virtue of these experiences. And, blessed so many times by the gifts (often unwittingly given) by all whom I have had, and continue to have the opportunity to know and to interact with."
"I am grateful each and every day for the many opportunities which I have been given, while living out my call as the Verger of St. Mary's Kerrisdale. The opportunity for personal growth, continually learning to live more fully into the Life of Christ. The St. Mary's Kerrisdale community has supported and motivated me in that personal growth. I am also grateful that I have the privilege and opportunity to offer my various gifts to this place of worship and community, and to work with so many incredible people every day."
"I experience grace as a direct result of being blessed with sharing so many humbling experiences with the people regularly involved within our St. Mary’s Kerrisdale community and congregation. Along with those many others who come and go from St. Mary's Kerrisdale, sharing their experiences of joy, despair, loss, hope and love. All of these combined, are the very foundations of what the amazing community of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale truly is...the people of God, hand in hand, doing His work on this earth."
"I encourage all vergers to always be open to how God works in, through and with us each day of our lives. The verger ministry of hospitality and worship is so crucial to an active parish's survival. I have discovered in my 20 years as a vocational verger, that an openness to God's abundance and love provides rewards beyond that which we can ask or imagine."
John Taylor, Verger
St Mary's Kerrisdale Church
Vancouver, BC V6M 1P5
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.
Abstract: The VGEC conference in Burlington beginning on September 25th will be a great opportunity to meet one of the more experienced vergers on the North American Continent. He was the host committee chair for the VGEC 2000 conference in Vancouver, BC. He began his current job in 1994. "20 years a verger" describes John Taylor. Meet him in Burlington and congratulate him on his tenure.