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Friday, October 3, 2014

"The Blast in Burlington" - 26th VGEC Conference a Hit

26th VGEC Annual Conference - Sunday Service at Christ's Church Cathedral, Hamilton, Ontario - September 28, 2014

By Ken Holloway, with comments from roaming reporters

From the east to the west, the north and the south of Canada and the US plus across the Atlantic, comments are arriving at this desk about the 26th VGEC Annual Conference. These just in, "...we had a blast in Burlington." "They really know how to celebrate." "The singing Mountie was the best!" After a week off, let’s go to press!

"This was one of the best conferences I have attended.  The hospitality shown by the Parish Church of St. Luke was exceptional.  The two highlights for me were the Three Cantors and the Burlington Teen Tour Band that played for us outside our banquet on Saturday evening.  That said, the whole conference was a highlight of my September this year. This conference was a cause for renewal of my hope in our Episcopal Church. We have so many dedicated people who love the church and are willing to serve and to serve as examples to others who are seeking a spiritual home. The Episcopal Church is alive and well if our vergers are any example - and I think we are."  - The Rev. Walter Kindergan, Pensacola, FL.

"Liturgically my high point was my first Festival Procession or Holy Pretzel. I've read about them but had never seen one until Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral. Cynthia Jean Shepley, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, sitting next to me, had never been in a cathedral so she was thrilled. When the Festival Procession started heading down the aisle, it seemed like it went out of the church but then here it came up the side, across the front and back down the other side aisle. It was awesome. Diane Carlisle, Seattle, WA, was sitting on my other side. Her church does festival processions several times a year so she was able to coach Cynthia and me." - Eileen Hicks, Baytown TX

"Burlington is a conference that we'll be talking about for years to come!  There were many high points in the conference, it's hard to name just one.  The experience at the cathedral had me in awe the entire time, the trip to Niagara Falls is something I'll never forget, the sessions were informative and engaging, and the fellowship was truly soul-nourishing.  Is it 2015 yet?  I can't wait to see all my friends--and make new ones--in St. Louis!" - Michael Sanchez, Oregon City, OR

"Having 140 people together for four days was a true joy. We were hoping for 90 - blessings from God that we had so many people interested in the ministry of the verger. The trip to Niagara Falls is not to be forgotten. Once in a lifetime for me as my grandparents went there in 1937 and loved it. Thinking that the water there is doing the same thing so many years later is pretty cool to say the least. The Burlington Teen Tour Band as lead in to the Saturday evening was fantastic - what a way to start the night!" - Scott Smith, Nashville TN

"It was a pleasure to be back in Ontario and to have the opportunity to go a visit my alma mater and take in Niagara Falls and the beautiful country side around Lake Ontario. This was a wonderful conference and we were very pleased to be part of it. The highlight for me was the beautiful festival procession and church service. The singing Mountie was a delightful additional treat. Kathie and I, along with our planning and verger team look forward to being your hosts in Spokane Washington in 2016." - Dallas and Kathie Hawkins, Spokane WA

"Another couple of notes about Ms. Shepley. I met her for the first time on Thursday, found out she's just starting out as a verger and had no robes. Then Saturday night at the banquet it was announced that one of the CEGV members had an extra chimere if anyone needed it. In a God moment, it of course fit Cynthia beautifully. The conference spirit really hit on Sunday when a Detroit verger, Lea Ellwood-Filkins, ran into Cynthia, saw her name tag, and exclaimed "We've been looking for you", and they went off discussing the possibility of starting a VGEC chapter across the border." - Eileen Hicks, Baytown TX

 Kent Wingerson, Topeka, KS, celebrated his birthday during the conference, I think on Saturday, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him. He turned as purple as the shirt he was wearing.  Bill Gleason, Nashville TN, instigated the announcement and later treated him to lunch while at Niagara Falls.

"The formal establishment of the Diocese of North Carolina Chapter and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut Chapter speaks the the success and growth of the Diocesan model for chapters of the VGEC. We're in high gear on that initiative." - Scott Smith, Nashville TN

If you think you've experienced hospitality before, how about the congregation of the Parish Church of St. Luke which went to Christ's Church Cathedral in Hamilton bringing their choir, priest, and banner for the service Sunday morning. Yep, the whole congregation closed the doors, boarded buses, drove down the coast and showed up, supporting us, their guests. Wow!

Thank you Terry Hughes, Ritchard Taylor, the vergers of the Diocese of Niagara and the entire St. Luke's congregation. It was a unique experience... just as you had promised, eh!

Readers can view the online photo album located here or visit VergerTV to see the video of the Thursday Evensong and the Sunday Eucharist.

Abstract:  From all points in Canada, the US, and  England, 111 VGEC members and 28 guests gathered in Burlington to renew acquaintances with many friends met at previous conferences, to 'catch up' with them and to meet new people with a common purpose, to faithfully serve our liturgical tradition. Read about some highlights and view video and photos from the 26th Annual Conference.

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