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Friday, November 7, 2014

Craige DeMoss - First President of the VGEC's Tennessee Chapter

(L to R) Dave and Lynn Price with Craige and Mimi DeMoss at the Awards Banquet of the 25th Annual Conference of the VGEC in Nashville, Tennessee

By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager

I arrived at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville on October 3, 2013, to start my coverage of the VGEC 25th Anniversary Conference. The first person I met was Craige DeMoss. Craige, verger at Grace Church, Spring Hill, was so engaged welcoming visitors and finalizing arrangements that he barely finished one task before the next arrival or question to be answered received his very concentrated attention. He and Scott Smith had planned the event so well that they were like a professional shortstop and second baseman getting the 120th double play of the season: polished, positive, and professional. He impressed me as a very selfless man, simply following through on what he had given his word that he would do.

I didn't know until later he was very ill during that week. Craige was diagnosed during the summer prior to the conference with a rare and progressive hardening of the lungs. The prognosis was not good. But according to everyone who worked on the conference, this was not about to slow Craige down. And it certainly did not!

His effort last October made a big difference in the quality of the entire conference. I watched his tireless work in the details and the details of the details. It nearly wore me out just observing his energetic dedication to providing the best conference experience for all who attended.

The new Diocesan Banner with Craige DeMoss and
Cathy Kennedy at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville
The new Tennessee chapter of the VGEC met for its formative business meeting on October 5, 2013, during the conference, and as a first order of business elected a slate of officers with Craige as it's first president. What a great choice! Once again, although in declining health, he made a difference by ensuring the chapter web page was quickly established and by providing a functional organizational structure to insure the success of the Tennessee chapter long after his term of office.

VGEC President Scott Smith notified me of a subsequent meeting of the Diocese of Tennessee chapter early in February 2014, saying, "We are having a meeting today of the Diocese of Tennessee Chapter - the first meeting we've really had since the conference when we had what seemed like about 500 meetings! But we are working to make and fund a Diocesan banner, and we just uploaded a short video on the VergerTV YouTube channel about the making of the banner."

The Tennessee Chapter enjoys having projects and events to build fellowship between the vergers of the diocese. According to Craige, that's the only mission of the chapter. The diocesan banner was a project Craige immediately recognized as one perfectly suited for the chapter. The design was created by several volunteers and staff from the diocese and was beautifully crafted and brought to life by the artisans of Trevor Floyd and Company.

The banner was commissioned and blessed by the Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee, at the 2014 Blessing of Liturgical Ministries at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, March 29, 2014. The BoLM (as the vergers lovingly call it) is an annual event that the Tennessee vergers have helped to plan for the past four years.

On August 21, 2014, the chapter met to tour the brand new Diocesan House of the Diocese of Tennessee and to thank the Chaplain of the Tennessee Chapter, Fr. Jody Howard, rector of St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, who has played a key roll in the success of the Blessing of Liturgical Ministries over several years.

During this meeting, Craige made a motion that Cathy Kennedy, verger at Church of the Good Shepherd, Brentwood, Tennessee, become the second president of the VGEC Tennessee Chapter. The motion carried.

Tennessee Chapter Meeting August 21, 2014

Craige's condition has worsened since August but he continues to have an amazingly positive attitude. Craige told Scott at lunch not long ago that, "...when you know where you are going, you just can't be scared. We Christians know exactly where we are going and I can't wait to get there!"

Abstract: How would you handle the responsibility of heading up a new VGEC Chapter? Would you even seek that sort of responsibility? Could you maintain your energy level long enough to see the project through? Read in this week's Verger's Voice how one verger, in Tennessee, took on such a challenge and is indeed seeing it through with determination and dignity.

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