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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."

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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.

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