Welcome to the Vergers Voice, the official news blog of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church. Also known as the VGEC, we are located on the web at vergers.org and facebook.com/vergerguild the #1 online resources for vergers world-wide.

For information about submitting news and announcements to the blog, click HERE or contact [email protected].

Monday, June 29, 2015

Vergers Eyes - The Convention Opens

The 78th General Convention opening session on June 25th

By Ken Holloway with Barry Norris and Bill Gleason

The Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, celebrated at the opening Community Eucharist which formally opened the 78th General Convention.

Today we vergers had the honor of serving as escorts for the chancel party. Scott and I escorted the readers, preacher, deacon, celebrant, and master of ceremonies (our very own Margaret McLarty) from the vesting room to the worship hall and back after the sixty-five minute liturgy.

Scott Smith, Bill Gleason and Margaret McLarty with Bishop Schori
Many of the vergers are also volunteering to be eucharistic ministers as well. It was an honor and a privilege to serve in that role. The volunteers who prepared this service estimated the needs of the numbers of host and chalice ministers very well. It took about 10 to 15 minutes to serve the 3,000+ worshipers.

After the service, the exhibit hall was opened and it filled quickly. Our booth had many visitors, inquirers, guests, vergers, clergy, and bishops. Many came for our most popular color changing cups. We had new helpers in the booth today, Melita Thorpe from All Saints, Saratoga CA; Sid Glynn, All Saints, Lakeland FL; and Danny Meadors, St Patrick’s, Long Beach MS, along with those who had served since Tuesday.

Some of the questions asked by clergy and laity may sound familiar:
  • We are not big enough to have a verger. What do you think?
  • What is a verger?
  • Why doesn't our verger process?
  • I am a verger. How can I learn what I really should be doing?
  • Is it alright if I don’t have vestments or a stick?
  • I do not have the title of verger, but I do most of the things that a verger does. May I still join the VGEC?
We promote the verger ministry by talking about our acts of welcome, service, hospitality, organization, and liturgical planning which defines our responsibilities. We describe it as a ministry that serves the parish, the people, the clergy and the building. We mention that we serve as stage managers, masters of ceremony, sacristans, acolytes, sextons, security, and assist the ushers and altar guilds as needed.

We each have standard things that we probably say, but each interaction is different and so many go away saying, "Thank you! I didn’t know that..." or  "Now I understand. I will go online and learn more from your vergers.org web site."

"I will tell my verger/friend/the person I have in mind all about this..." or "This is a great ministry and service you are doing for the church. Thank you!"

We continue to be amazed by the numbers of people interested in the ministry of the verger and we look forward to several more days of talking about all of this and learning more together!

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract: The opening Community Eucharist sets the stage for the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Many of our vergers who are volunteering for the VGEC booth are also serving in various liturgical roles in the Holy Eucharist. This is to be expected!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Presiding Bishop-Elect Knows Vergers!

The Presiding Bishop-Elect, the Very Reverend Michael Curry, a few months ago hosted a video with two vergers from North Carolina exploring what it means to be a verger - click the image to play the video

by Scott Smith, President of the VGEC

Today, the 78th General Convention elected the Right Reverend Michael Curry, the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He will succeed the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori who will complete her nine-year term on November 1, 2015. When invested at National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Bishop Curry will become the first African-American presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church.

This election was, of course, one of the most highly anticipated events at the convention. The buzz in the "got vergers?" exhibition booth at General Convention has been growing over the past few days about who would be elected of the four highly-qualified candidates. When asked about the possible election of Bishop Curry, one member of the clergy delegation summed up the general consensus well when he said, "He would do an amazing job - most of all in energizing the church to attract new members which is what we feel is so important for the Episcopal Church today." Another lay delegate added, "He would make a phenomenal Presiding Bishop and I know if he's elected we would have an exciting, engaged, and energizing leader of the whole church."

Bishop Curry answered questions posed by the deputies on Wednesday, June 24th. Among his statements was this memorable opinion, "The presiding bishop must be two kinds of CEO - a chief executive officer and a chief evangelism officer." Asked how he would live into the fiduciary, legal and corporate responsibilities of a chief executive officer while also being the chief evangelism officer, he said he would find "the best and most capable people" to run the organization, but he cautioned that just having people "who know how to count and know how to invest and know how to take care of the books is not enough. There's got to be a reason for doing it," he said, explaining that the reason is to enable the witness to Jesus that must be the center around which the structure of the church is built.

It is also extremely exciting for the Vergers Guild that the Presiding Bishop-Elect is very appreciative of the growing ministry of the verger. Recently Richard Parker, from Burlington and Mick Capon, from Durham met with Bishop Curry at St. Philip's Durham. During his episcopate Bishop Curry featured a weekly video blog for the diocese called, "Please Note."  He asked Richard and Mick for an interview about the new chapter and about the duties of the verger.

In the video, Bishop Curry made the observation that, "The verger is like a liturgical coordinator or conductor, sometimes visible and sometimes behind the scenes! This is sort of a liturgical concierge, a way of graciousness. I know when I'm traveling, it's so important for me to have someone to ask questions about a new place. That is a gracious and welcoming thing and it is at the heart of this ministry isn't it?" He summarized for viewers of the interview at the end of the video by looking into the camera and saying, "Really, the ministry of the verger is the ministry of a concierge in the church."

Margaret McLarty, VGEC Immediate Past President and delegate to General Convention from the Diocese of Mississippi said, "I want to congratulate Bishop Curry on his election and thank him for his support of the ministry of the verger. We look forward to continuing this work together and hope to help make the church an energetic, welcoming and hospitable place for worship. We stand ready to assist in our local parishes and Bishop Curry and his vision for the church."

The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church sincerely thanks all of the nominees who stood for consideration for this important position in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion world-wide. We pray for Bishop Curry as he begins the transition into this new chapter of his life and in the life of the church.

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract: Learn about the newly elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vergers Eyes - We Met, We Talked, We Invited

Barry Norris showing Ron Byrd the sample VGEC Training Course booklet

By Ken Holloway with Bill Gleason, Barry Norris and Scott Smith on the scene in Salt Lake City

I overheard the thoughts of some of our VGEC Booth team in my sleep over the last few days. You know how dreamscapes are - they are universal, right? Anyway, these notions can easily be imagined by anyone who ever helped with a booth at a trade show or even a neighborhood July 4th celebration.

"The trip was long but exhilarating and exhausting..."

"Gee, we really hope that all of the boxes and the all-important pallet of goods arrived intact..."

"Goods and supplies now in order, let's try to remember which tab fits in what slot to make this banner display stand on its own..."

"I'm just going to take off my shoes and be comfortable!"

Tuesday morning, as Bill and Barry (B&B) report, "At first the conversations happened sporadically while we put up our booth. It's nice to have conversation about what we do and who we are to our parish churches. Later in the booth setup process, shorter answers became the tactic, else we'd not finished the booth in time to get nourishment, refreshment and enough revitalizing sleep in preparation for opening day."

B&B Report for Tuesday, June 23, First day of the Exhibit

Bill Gleason said, "What a day! A long day! The Exhibit Hall opened at 9am and we were ready for the throngs of delegates, clergy, and bishops. We were busy talking about and talking up the verger ministry with all types of curious and interested visitors. Some knew about the verger ministry and some did not.

"I was really surprised at the number of laity that said, "our church/parish/mission is not big enough to have a verger!" My comment to each was, "You have a verger, whether you know it or not! There is someone in your parish who is serving the ministry of service, welcome, and organization to the parish, the congregation, the clergy. Vergers are needed in every church, and you have one! Also, we talk a lot about the fact that we have many different titles for the same job.

"We met a number of vergers, many who are VGEC members and some who are not. Many clergy including several bishops stopped by too. The big draw to our booth is the same as the last two General Conventions: the color-changing cold-water plastic cups. This year we have Purple (Lent), Yellow (Festive), Green (Pentecost), Red (Holy/Feast Days), Blue (Advent), Pink (Laudate).  Those returning from previous years want the VGEC cup for either for themselves or to take back to their parish for their vergers.

"We closed the booth at 5:00 after which Scott, Barry, Margaret, Danny Meadors, and I all met over at the Hilton for a light early-evening supper, and follow-up discussion. We all agreed that we are off to a great start. Wednesday we'll be ready for an early morning booth start at 8am and an early closing at 3pm."

Barry Norris said, "I was surprised at the number of people I met yesterday who had no idea what a verger is. My brief answer was that vergers are a lay ministers who support the clergy. Depending on the specific church, we typically do scheduling, sacristy, acolyte master, lector trainer, chalice bearer, etc. But above all, most of us work with our clergy to coordinate the service and then ensure that all the support persons are there. As Bill said, every church already has a verger, they just may not recognize it.

"The General Convention exhibit hall is massive, with at least a hundred exhibitors present. The VGEC booth is well-placed with a lot of traffic. We have handed out many of our color-changing beverage cups and sample training course handouts. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with people about our ministry."

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract: Our VGEC Booth at the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church opened promptly at 8am on June 23, 2015. The day featured lots of conversation about the Verger ministry. We met a number of vergers who are delegates to the convention. Some were VGEC members, some not. We agreed among ourselves that we still owe a ton of education to the parishes of the Episcopal population to point out that, whether or not it is formal, they have a verger. Maybe that person can be reached by our conversation and welcomed into the VGEC formally.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vergers Eyes - We Traveled. We Provisioned. We Set-Up our Booth.

On the road to Salt Lake City, Scott Smith stopped to make a picture of a really big rock (he's on the far right of the frame)

By Ken Holloway with Bill Gleason and Barry Norris, field reporters

The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is underway. Our intrepid VGEC Booth-Assembler/Greeter/Conversationer/Sitter/Stander team made its way along various routes across the USA, meeting in Salt Lake City over the weekend to assemble our (always eye-catching) booth.

But I'm jumping ahead of the story. Let's catch up with Scott Smith, Bill Gleason and Barry Norris, our advance contingent and their travel adventures.

Bill Gleason said, "Scott and I arrived from Denver after a 600-mile, 10-hour drive to Salt Lake City. Scott and I stopped for a break at Arches National Park outside of Moab Utah - what a spectacular natural wonder of this country. In the film at the visitor center, we learned that the park's natural arches are constantly in a state of flux. The last arch to fall was back in 2008.

"Once we arrived in Salt Lake City, I discovered that it is a very interesting city for driving and navigation. The streets are on a grid system with North and South Temple and East and West Temple intersecting in the middle. The Streets are in the 100's North and South and East and West, so that sometimes you will go the intersection of W100 S & S 200 W, as an example. In short, it's maddening to a newcomer. I'm surprised to report that it is actually starting to make some sense now!

"First thing Sunday morning, Barry, Scott and I met at the Exhibition Hall at the Salt Palace Convention Center and put the together the triangular "got vergers?" sign so that it would be ready to hoist to the ceiling after lunch.

"Then we went to the beautiful Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Mark at the 100 East 200 South block of Salt Lake City. We met the the Very Rev. Raymond Joe Waldon, Dean and the vergers on duty, Ron Kastner and David Evans. The Dean invited us to process in following the lead Verger and before the thurifer, crucifer, and torches, and to sit in the chancel. This was the kick-off Holy Eucharist as the cathedral was culminating years of work in preparation for General Convention. This was an exciting time to be there!

"Following the service, we went back to the convention center and were there in time to watch the raising of the sign over the vergers booth #713 in the middle of, and along the main center aisle of the Exhibit Hall. The position of the booth could not be better, being just beyond the main registration area.

Barry Norris supervises the preparation for raising the Got Vergers? overhead banner array

While puttering around all afternoon setting up the placement of floor signs, tables, chairs, giveaway materials, display items, we also got the opportunity to meet with good friends of the Vergers Guild, Stephen, Michael, and Daniel Fendler, and Bill St John from CM Almy, Mark Hoyer from Wippell's, and Trevor Floyd from Trevor Floyd and Company.

"After leaving the Convention Center, Barry and Bill visited the visitors center of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. We went to Temple Square saw the exhibits and displays and buildings of the Temple, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Assembly Building, the local Churches, the Office Building, etc.

"Yesterday, Monday June 22, we thought we'd have a quiet day. But, it became a rather busy and productive day. We visited our local Costco and Target to pick up items needed to sustain our activity for the next 12 days - water, power plugs, sign holders, tape, etc. The next challenge was to pick up the boxes of printed materials sent from Nashville to Salt Lake City to be delivered to St Mark’s Cathedral. The boxes didn't arrive on time so we went to the shipper's facility to find them. Of course, we had to wait, and wait, and wait, but finally, the boxes came to us, and we took the last delivery back to the Convention Center."

Barry's account of the first days: "I arrived in Salt Lake from Philadelphia really late on Saturday night, but at least I'd been upgraded to first class! This is the first time that I have been to a General Convention and I didn’t really know what to expect, but was excited to be here.  One of the vergers from the Cathedral of Saint Mark offered to house Bill and me for the entire 2 weeks - thank you Branden & April!

"Sunday morning, Bill, Scott, and I started set-up of the booth. I was surprised how much there was to do - nothing too difficult, but just a lot of little things. Monday, we finished with the set-up, and had only the final table to be delivered to our booth for tomorrow morning's "Pre-Opening" salute. I’m no fashionista, but I think it looks pretty good."

Flanked by our tall "VGEC Offerings" banners, you can see our booth, tables, chairs and wall hangings to the right in this panoramic shot (this makes the booth look huge, Bill reports that it's not!)

So, after traveling, provisioning, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and setting up, we are finally ready for opening day of General Convention. Tune in tomorrow for the latest from General Convention in "Vergers Eyes..."

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract:  Our VGEC agents for the General Convention arrived in Salt Lake City, handled the logistics of setting up our booth, attended Eucharist at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Mark, visited the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, assembled all of our booth materials and settled into "Exhibit Hall Action" mode for the joyful journey toward the closing ceremonies on July 3rd.

Friday, June 19, 2015

VGEC Team Heads to Salt Lake City for the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

Ask your clergy or lay General Convention delegates to bring you one of our popular VGEC Color Changing beverage cups.

By Margaret McLarty, VGEC Immediate Past President and General Convention Worship Committee Member

Many of us are packing our bags to head out to Salt Lake City for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church which starts on Thursday, June 25, 2015 and ends on Friday, July 3rd. Barry Norris, Bill Gleason and Scott Smith are leading the pack by arriving on Sunday June 21st to start setting up the VGEC exhibit booth which will open on Tuesday, June 23rd.

The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church will have an incredibly prominent booth located just to the right of the entrance of the Exhibit Hall at the Salt Palace Convention Center. A very large and recognizable blue sign, “got vergers?” will be hanging from the rafters and will clearly identify our booth. If you are going to General Convention, please come by and see us. Invite any verger or groups interested in verging to go by our booth, identify themselves, and choose from some of our take-away materials. If you are not attending, ask any clergy and laypeople from your parish or diocese who are coming to visit our booth and pick up a VGEC cup to bring home to you. This will be the third convention in nine years that we have given out magic souvenir cups branded with the GC logo. The magic feature is they are frosty white at room temperature, but turn a color when filled with a cool beverage. We have purple ones for bishops that come by and visit with us!

We want you to be a part of the booth activities and to join us for a get together on Friday night, June 26th. Please send your contact information to [email protected].

Expect regular Vergers Voice blog posts, reporting news, happenings, and details of the convention!

Join in the worship whether you are in Salt Lake City or in your own home! There are daily Community Eucharists starting at 9:30 am MDT every morning except the last day, Friday, July 3, which will start an hour early at 8:30 am MDT to welcome the new Presiding Bishop. The big Festival Eucharist and UTO Ingathering on Sunday, June 28, 2015 will start at 10:00 am. This year the Order of Service bulletins are available for download. There will not be printed bulletins for the services. This is another exciting leap of faith as our church moves forward technologically. There is a media hub, which will live-stream the worship and legislative sessions. You should see buttons for Worship, Press, Features, Deputies and Bishops plus, as you scroll down, a calendar of events for each day. The Society of St. John the Evangelist has an interactive process for anyone to offer intercessory prayers during the convention worship at prayersofthepeople.org.

The worship at General Convention is exceptionally unique. Every day the liturgies are crafted with superb music and musicians, gifted preachers, and brilliant lectors joining with various Bishops as celebrants to offer Holy Eucharist to the Glory of God. Daily services typically serve around 2500. The attendance for Sunday is expected to be 5500.

The 78th General Convention also has a Mobile Guide. All of this information and the legislative sessions can be found once you download the Guidebook app. Download it at: guidebook.com/g/GC2015.

The Convention Worship Committee is looking to the VGEC for support. On each of the service bulletins, the General Convention Worship Committee has acknowledged the VGEC and expressed thanks for our support and service. The daily community Eucharists are supported by two vergers (non-vested) serving as escorts for the platform party moving to the stage. This will be in an open area and will be reminiscent of the ancient verger moving the clergy from his home to the church through the town.

I will serve as the platform Master of Ceremonies. This will be the third time for me to have the honor to serve in this capacity and as a member of the General Convention Worship Committee. At the Sunday morning Festival Eucharist, four vested vergers, will lead the various processions into the hall. It is the practice to use local Utah vergers and vergers attending the convention for this responsibility.

Join us in Salt Lake City in person or by computer, keep all of us in your prayers, and anticipate the upcoming Vergers Voice blog posts. I look forward to seeing many of you on the exhibit floor. And remember, "got vergers?"

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract:  Your VGEC presence at the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is prominent. Our advance "GC" team is on the road to Salt Lake City today. We'll have their reports while they set up our booth over the weekend. Watch for frequent Vergers Voice Blog posts during the convention. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Reluctant Verger - Curtis Barnes: First Verger at St. Paul's Church Nantucket

Curtis Barnes on Sunday at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

By David Deutsch, Verger at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill, Washington DC

“I think of myself as the reluctant verger.” These were the first words I heard from Curtis Barnes, a most energetic young man of 82 years, who greeted me with a twinkle in his eye. Curtis has the title of “verger” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. This is a new official designation at St. Paul’s, as no person with the title of “verger” had heretofore existed. Because Curtis has worked patiently, tirelessly, and competently behind the scenes at St. Paul’s for more than 20 years, the vestry along with interim rector the Rev. Dr. Gale Davis officially made Curtis Barnes the first St. Paul’s verger in the spring of 2015. So why does he call himself “the reluctant” verger?

Curtis is not interested in highfalutin titles, fancy vestments, and positions that seem to elevate him above others who volunteer for service jobs during the Sunday liturgy: Readers, intercessors, lay servers, altar guild, etc. Curtis puts it this way:

"I view my real ministry as enabling 100 volunteers at St. Paul’s to participate in the service. I try to include those who just come to the island for only two or three weeks. I tell them they cannot make a mistake in their ministry. God does not grade. Everything you do is right in God’s eyes and enriching."

"Ordained ministry and lay ministry are still a tug for me. But my ministry is here on Nantucket raising up people for service in God’s Church."

Curtis’ philosophy—spiritual verger theology if you will—may have had its beginnings back in the late 80s. For the second time in his life he felt called to ordained ministry. With the blessing of the Rev. Douglas Tompkins, rector of St. Paul’s Nantucket, he commuted to Episcopal Divinity School in Boston eventually withdrawing from his real estate business on Nantucket to live at EDS his third year. The time came in December to meet with Bishop David Johnson for the thumbs up/thumbs down to continue the ordination process, which all aspirants go through. When Curtis entered the office, Bishop Johnson turned to him and said, “Curtis, I have decided that I am not moving you forward in the process. Your ministry is elsewhere in the church. I want you to go back and take care of my people on Nantucket.” Curtis left the room with tears running down his face. He went back to Nantucket to take care of the people of St. Paul’s.

Despite this painful revelation, Curtis’ life had, in fact, prepared him well for his lay ministry in the church. And he thrived. He came out of an academic career with a background in academic administration. He was an assistant marshal at Syracuse University, and senior marshal at University of Pennsylvania and Tufts. As a marshal he learned to plan for moving 12,000 people around. When he arrived on Nantucket, he put his skills to work at St. Paul’s.

In the late 1990s through today St. Paul’s went through a period of volatility, during which it had an assortment of rectors, interim rectors, supply clergy, and priests-in-charge. During these times, the critical stability came from Curtis Barnes who not only scheduled the Rota for service volunteers and trained them, but also scheduled the supply clergy. Curtis provided continuity for the clergy as well. The interview you are reading took place between the time Curtis was running a rehearsal for Children’s Sunday which includes a Methodist minister and earlier in the morning the planning of a funeral which includes a Catholic priest. Oh yes, he also meets with and rehearses the baptismal candidates and their families. Curtis might see himself as the “reluctant verger,” but the recognition—and authority— he recently received from the vestry and interim rector Rev. Dr. Gale Davis seems totally right and proper. And, rest assured, Curtis only vests occasionally in his black verger cassock and gray chimere, spending most of his Sunday mornings serving in a plain white alb just like the other servers.


What causes Curtis Barnes the biggest headache? He says it is not those with volunteer duties who find they cannot make it to church on a particular Sunday and call him to let him know. Curtis is always prepared to tap another volunteer on the spot or do the task himself. What gives Curtis Barnes the biggest headache are those who DO NOT CALL to let him know that they cannot participate that Sunday. That is what irks him the most.  This certainly will sound familiar to many vergers. Yet he has developed several important skills to help him as a verger, including:
  • Listening
  • Compassion
  • Being sensitive to the concerns of others
  • Being supportive to those who might be nervous
  • Reassuring all that under God’s roof there are no mistakes
And you know what? Curtis Barnes may call himself “the reluctant verger,” but he sounds like the real deal to this writer. St. Paul's is blessed to have such a committed and energetic verger assisting the rector, the congregation, and God.

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract:  Read about a very dedicated servant of God, who, after 20 years of faithful, planning, training, coordination and careful attention to detail at St. Paul's in Nantucket, is now formally recognized as the parish verger.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Verger Information at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City

We can be very proud of our booth's informational banners that will be used at General Convention in Salt Lake City

By Ken Holloway, News Manager, VGEC

Our intrepid VGEC team is in final preparation to represent us at the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, June 25th - July 3rd in Salt Lake City. Prime VGEC booth space was procured very early in the process. Volunteers have been solicited. Registration, travel and lodging arrangements are just about complete. We want VGEC represented at the the largest gathering of the Episcopal church. This happens every 3 years and this year a new Presiding Bishop will be elected. This only happens every 9 years. The Exhibit Hall is the best place to touch many clergy and lay people about the verger ministry and VGEC. It's a very big deal.

If you will be at General Convention and you want to help, please contact Margaret McLarty, chair of the VGEC General Convention Committee at [email protected].

New signage for the VGEC booth has been professionally designed.  We want to establish our presence with everyone who enters the exhibit hall and we want them to engage us in conversation. Maybe that conversation will result in a new verger ministry or revival of a previous verger presence at a fortunate parish church.

We have four new 6' floor signs for General Convention and each sign has two sides for a total of eight topics. We are trying this year to keep these signs from getting dated - limiting dates and locations so we can use them again in three years. For specifics, we will be passing out the 2015 Annual Conference postcard, a 7-page sample of the VGEC Training Course, and other swag-like materials. Did we mention the ever popular color-changing verger cups???

As Scott Smith, our president, reminds us, "The floor signs are intended to spark conversation. With the thousands of visitors that take part in General Convention, hopefully the signs will easily serve as gentle reminders of our collective messages as a guild. And there is a lot to remember! The sign content really is an elevator-pitch that succinctly tells the VGEC's and the verger's story."

Each of us can use the sign content as a great verger/VGEC overview outline. See what you think:

What is a Verger?
  • Layperson who serves the church in a ministry of organization, service, and welcome
  • Works under the direction of rector, vicar, or priest-in-charge
  • Source of organization for liturgy and planning
  • Behind the scenes work
  • Clergy are confident details are handled
  • Job descriptions vary from parish to parish

About the Vergers Guild
  • National organization for vergers, sacristans, masters/mistresses of ceremony and other liturgical volunteers in the church
  • Thousands of active members in the US and around the world
  • Ministry of organization, service, and welcome
  • Training and mentoring
  • Annual Conferences
  • Founded in 1989

Starting a new Verger Ministry
  • Training Course - self guided course for vergers
  • Annual Conferences - Verger 101 for new vergers
  • vergers.org - online materials to get started
  • Starting a Diocesan chapter for vergers
  • vergersvoice.org - weekly blog & facebook.com/vergerguild
  • Contact [email protected] today to get started!

Annual Conference
  • Annual gathering for worship, training, learning, fellowship, and fun
  • Hundreds of members attend each year
  • Workshops, sessions, excursions, and tours
  • Verger 101: Topics for the new verger
  • Verger 307: Advanced topics for all vergers
  • Verging In Depth: Detailed session on one topic

The Guild Shop
  • Processional Gear - items for new and long-time vergers
  • The Basic Virge
  • The Verger’s Chimere
  • Clothing - shirts, baseball caps, etc.
  • "got vergers?" items
  • Let us know what merchandise you would like in the Guild Shop!
  • shop.vergers.org

The Verger’s Voice Blog
  • Active blog of the Vergers Guild
  • vergersvoice.org
  • Official news service for the Verger Guild
  • In-depth articles
  • Published weekly
  • Free for everyone!

Verger Training Course
  • Self guided course
  • Totally re-written in 2015
  • Clergy serves as course Mentor
  • All course materials in PDF
  • Certificate of Completion, suitable for framing
  • Ability to purchase the "Fellow's Virge"
  • 8-page sample course document available now

Verger Resources

There you have it, a complete outline for your "What is a verger and what do you do?" answers.

Wouldn't it be great if we all were able to answer that question in the same way? So step up to the plate and be ready to be conversational in an up-to-date informed "verger" frame of mind! And pray for our GC team-it's mentally and physically very hard work to be "on exhibit" all day for the entire time the Exhibit Hall is open and they need all the support we can give them.

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract: Communicating what we do as vergers, how one can become a verger, and why be interested in the verger ministry is a challenge, no matter how much experience you may have. Here are some concise words that we all can use from time to time to explain those concepts. These are the words that our General Convention team will use to tell the Episcopal world about vergers.