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!





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