|The Rev. Matthew Corkern (second from left) with his son (and verger) Preston Coke-Corkern (right) at the 25th Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee|
The Rev. Matthew Corkern, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Summit, New Jersey, is the Chaplain of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church. Among his many interests, he has led annual pilgrimages to the United Kingdom exploring our historical Anglican ties to the Church of England. (Look soon for a Verger's Voice post called Pilgrimage to Westminster 2014 plus 2015 Pilgrimage Plans for an update on the Pilgrimage series.)
Fr. Corkern takes his role within the VGEC very seriously. He is our chaplain. We all know that, in our training, we learn that our functionality during our participation in liturgy under our care requires that we "keep our heads in the game." Often, we're not able to worship as profoundly as we might were we not "on duty." Clergy members have the same issue when they are conducting services. That much, in common, leads to Fr. Corkern's consideration of vergers as ordinary humans, who may not be getting "fed of Christ" in as satisfying or complete doses as we may when sitting in the congregation.
So what could we be seeking that Matthew might help us with right now? Could we be having a difficult time understanding our rector's intentions in liturgy? Do we have continued difficulty communicating with our eucharistic ministers or acolytes? Are any of us looking for a more active role in the church? Is the question of possibly seeking ordination something we've thought about? Have we thought about withdrawing from our role as verger? Do we wonder about the “why we do what we do” nature of Episcopal liturgy?
We have a real chaplain. He is a clergyman who assists all of us by providing pastoral, spiritual and emotional support. On a recent phone call, he commented that, “I pray daily for the verger ministry at large and I support clergy and vergers who may have things to resolve between themselves. I want to be in relationships of prayerful consideration of human events like birth, death, minor and major illness. This is an extended ministry which allows me to maintain a presence for vergers and clergy universally. I serve the vergers who are working so hard to serve others every day. Let everyone know that I will pray with anyone about whatever current events may be present in their lives.
I intend that my chaplaincy be real to anyone who needs me. I am present by email at [email protected] or r[email protected], or call me at 908-277-1914. This office number links to my cell phone, so I won't miss a call."
Abstract: Do any of us think that we're not being heard in our own parish church? Have you wondered about joining the priesthood? Do you feel that you're not getting enough out of your worship experience? Who could we talk with about these or other issues commonly associated with those who support liturgical logistics as we do every week? Maybe we could talk with a priest who has a wide understanding of vergers and their ministry? Is there someone who has a significant knowledge of the history of vergers in the Anglican church and is open to our conversations? Our blog story this week strives to answer many of these questions.