|Even the "got vergers?" sign looks ready to come down while the VGEC booth contents are packed in boxes to be shipped to Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis for the 27th Annual VGEC Conference beginning on October 1, 2015|
By William Hooper "Bill" Gleason
These few notes are my attempt to wrap up the VGEC's support of the 78th General Convention. As Co-Captains of the booth, Barry Norris and I would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped staff the VGEC booth at the convention:
- David Evans, Cathedral of St Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah
- William Gleason, Cathedral of St. John, Denver, Colorado
- Sid Glynn, All Saints Church, Lakeland, Florida
- Ron Kastner, Cathedral of St Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah
- The Rev. Walter B. Kindergan, Sr. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Pensacola, Florida
- Margaret McLarty, St Andrews Cathedral, Jackson, Mississippi
- Danny Meadors, St Patricks Church, Long Beach, Mississippi
- Barry Norris, Church of the Holy Spirit, Haleysville PA
- Scott Smith, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tennessee
- Melita Thorpe, St Andrews Church, Saratoga, California
- Steve Tilson, Cathedral of St Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Cindy Ware, Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, Kentucky
These volunteers were incredible representatives of the membership of the VGEC and the ministry of the verger Each can unquestionably testify that a two-week stint hosting a booth at this convention is long, tiring, strenuous, and very rewarding. Take time to look at photos covering all aspects of volunteering at the VGEC booth on Flickr.
On Wednesday, July 1, 2015, the closing day of the Convention Exhibit Hall, the Eucharist was truly inspirational. The music opened with a Japanese Drum Ensemble with a dozen or so large drums, each booming their beat throughout the Salt Palace Convention Center. The performance, style, and energy was exhilarating as the convention honored Hiram Hisanori Kano, on his Feast day in the Diocese of Nebraska.
Then we heard the Reverend Becca Stevens of St. Augustine's Chapel, Nashville, Tennessee, and founder of Thistle Farms, preach a sermon entitled, “The Lost Sheep.” She is a moving and inspirational force in the church today, full of power, love, compassion.
Back at the VGEC exhibit booth, it turned out to be the busiest of all the days we were open! Folks who had not visited came to the booth; folks that had previously been by came back; and folks that had waited to pick up the famous magical VGEC cup came to get their cup! Legendary verger hospitality was in play as we made sure that everyone who wanted a cup went home with one.
Over the last days of the exhibit hall it dawned on us we had purchased too much water for the booth, So the final day we gave away a lot of bottled water. Who knew $20 buys 6 cases of water at Costco and that's enough water to just about fill a pool?
The Bishop of Panama, Rt. Rev. Julio E Murray Thompson, came by to visit as well. He is very interested in welcoming the verger ministry to his country and diocese. To support the Diocese of Panama, and other similar dioceses, he encouraged VGEC to have our printed and online materials be translated into Spanish. Who out there will step up to help us with the details and language expertise to support expanding the VGEC mission? This is something that the VGEC has been talking about for some time, so if you are interested in helping, please contact Eileen Brightwell-Hicks, Co-Chair of the VGEC Communications Committee at [email protected].
As delegates started heading back to their meetings at 2:15pm, the Exhibit Hall became progressively empty until it was almost deserted. Other booths were already dismantling and at 2:30pm, we started doing the same to the VGEC booth. With the help of Cindy Ware, Steve Tilson, and David Evans, Barry and I were were able to dismantle and box all the materials in our booth in about 45 minutes. That was far easier than the two days it took to get everything unpacked, organized, and set up.
What a wonderful time we had with friends, colleagues, delegates, clergy, and bishops - all working together to increase awareness of the verger ministry throughout the Episcopal Church. Yes it was an endurance contest, but the VGEC came out a real winner!
Here's your "Save the Date" notice to be on hand in Austin, Texas in July 2018 for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The VGEC booth needs you. We need you too!
Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:
Abstract: At the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, our stalwart VGEC Exhibit Booth volunteers greeted all who visited with the cordiality and friendship inherent in our ministry. Serving in our booth was a challenge of stamina buoyed up by "verger's hearts".