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].

Friday, October 14, 2016

Top Ten Moments at VGEC 2016 Spokane Conference

The Official Photo of the 28th Annual Conference of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church

By the VGEC Communications Team

Here are some snap shots of a few of the activities we enjoyed at this year's VGEC Conference in Spokane, hosted by Dallas Hawkins and a host of vergers from the Spokane area.

Which photo do you like best?

Dallas sorts through registration name tags for eager conference attendees

The ladies of the "St Monica Guild" serving dinner at the 2016 conference. The food was amazing!

VGEC Board meeting on Thursday morning at the Davenport Hotel

Morning Prayer on Friday morning in the Nave of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Duke DuTeil demonstrates some virges during Verger 101

The Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefforts Shori sent us out in groups on a field trip looking for borders.

The 28th Annual Business Meeting of the VGEC on Saturday morning

Brand new Fellows of the VGEC who were recognized at the Saturday night awards banquet

Our keynote speaker the Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefforts Shori was also the preacher at the Sunday morning Holy Eucharist

The Thurifer contemplates the use of the jabot while censing the vergers seated in the transept

This picture says it all

To see all the photos that were taken at the conference, be sure to check out our 2016 Flickr Albums and also go to Facebook and search for #vgec28 and you will find a large number of posts with photos from attendees.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Meet the 2016 VGEC Board Nominees

A few past VGEC Boards - What will the future hold?

By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager, with Duke DuTeil, VGEC Treasurer and Nomination Committee member

We will be electing three board members at our Annual Conference in Spokane during the business meeting, on Saturday morning, September 24th.The leadership of the guild is defined in the VGEC Bylaws and is based on the vestry model in which each year three of the nine board members are elected to serve a three-year term. When the new board is established at the annual conference, it immediately elects its officers: a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Those officers serve a one-year term and may be re-elected at the next conference or the board may choose to elect different officers.

The three board members who have expiring terms are Rich Lammlin, Barry Norris, and Richard Parker. All three of these members are eligible to stand for another term on the board. Barry Norris and Richard Parker have agreed to stand for election to another three year term. Rich Lammlin has informed the Nomination Committee that he would not be able to serve on the board because of increased responsibilities in his parish and diocese.

Your Nominations Committee submits the following four candidates for your consideration. Our sincere thanks to all these VGEC members willing to stand for election to leadership positions.

In alphabetical order, here are their statements:

Scott G.N. Crowell, St Francis Episcopal Church, Palos Verdes Estates, California

Scott was born and raised United Methodist in Houston and loved going to church. In 1986 he had a British roommate who was away that Christmas, so he decided to have a British Christmas Eve and went to St. Francis Episcopal Houston for Christmas Eve Mass and was hooked on the liturgy and converted to the Episcopal Church. The next year, he moved across town and moved his letter to Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, where the 1998 Conference was held. He met Rob Rhynerson there and became very inspired of the Verger program, yet did not join the ranks of Vergers as they had enough. Scott moved to Las Vegas for work in 1994 where he met Sean Saunders his life partner/husband and have been together since 21 Feb 1995. Scott was appointed Verger in 2000 at Christ Church Episcopal to assist the other two Vergers. During his training he was called to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Henderson, NV by his friend stating they needed a Verger program started there. In 2002, Scott made the change and worked for the next several years instilling the Verger Program in Henderson including taking the training course in 2004. While there, the liturgist had to take a medical leave for several months, and Scott filled his shoes working with the Rector on planning and orchestrating the liturgies. He was installed as Verger by +The Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori in 2004 when she was Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada. Scott served under her as Diocesan Verger assisting at Diocesan events. Later Scott was asked to serve as one of the many Vergers at Bishop Jefferts-Schori’s Installation at Washington National Cathedral. Scott later became Head Verger with the addition of one additional Verger, trained under his guidance. In 2007 Sean was transferred to Los Angeles and Scott moved his letter to St. Thomas the Apostle Anglican Episcopal Church, Hollywood. Scott served as usher, lector, and acolyte including the Saturday evening Latin Vigil Mass. St. Thomas is very high church, but Scott did not serve as Verger there as they have a ceremonial Verger only used on Christmas, Easter and high feast days and only to process the clergy in and out. They have a Master of Ceremony and Sub Deacon that do the normal Verger duties every Mass. St. Thomas is 27.5 miles away from where Scott and Sean reside. In 2011, with a major road works project on one of the freeways and a marathon taking place the same Sunday, it took Scott 2.5 hours to get home and Scott decided to find a new parish closer in. Scott moved his letter to St. Francis Episcopal Church where he instantly became Verger there, one of 11 vergers, although presently only 2 are members of the guild. Through time, he has served on the Altar Guild, the Worship Team, assisted with liturgies, and served as the Worship Shepherd. The rector often goes to Scott as the go-to person for liturgy suggestions and questions. In 2016, Scott was invited to serve as Verger for a week at Carlisle Cathedral to learn the ropes of being an English cathedral verger. Ever since Scott has joined the guild, he has attended 4 conferences: Dallas 2004, Sewanee 2005, Nashville 2013, St. Louis 2015, and is attending Spokane 2016 and planning on attending Atlanta 2017. Scott looks very forward to working with the board of directors and officers of the VGEC and thanks those who nominated him as well as those who elected him.

Darin Herndon, VGEC Technology Manager, St Augustine Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Darin Herndon was raised in the Southern Baptist Church but found his love for liturgy and liturgical worship, along with his the love of his life (his wife Katherine), in the Episcopal Church. From usher to lector to Lay Eucharistic Minister to acolyte master to verger, his focus of service in the Episcopal Church has always centered on our communal worship. He is currently Head Verger for the former mission now parish of St. Augustine of Canterbury, a growing community of faith in Oklahoma City. He has been a member of the VGEC for six and a half years, has served as Technology Manager for the guild for three years, and joined the VGEC pilgrimage in the UK in the summer of 2014.

Professionally, Darin is the Oklahoma area Consulting Engineer for a firm providing professional IT services and equipment which he joined last December. Prior to that he served in a variety of senior technical, supervisory, and internal consulting positions for over 22 years at both a fortune 500 firm and a privately held architectural engineering firm. Much of Darin’s experience has centered on creating or improving technology and processes to achieve business goals and to improve competitive advantages.

An Eagle Scout, Darin has previously served multiple years on local council or regional executive boards of the Boy Scouts of America. A graduate of the University of Tulsa, majoring in management and minoring in finance, Darin is currently approaching 20 years of serving on the IT program’s curriculum advisory committee at a branch of the Oklahoma State University system. Academically a business and finance focused individual, he has aptitudes for technology and strategic planning and management that have guided his career. Darin has served as Technology Manager of the VGEC leading the monthly maintenance of the technology infrastructure of the organization for the past three years. Darin is honored to be nominated and considered for a position on the VGEC Board. If elected, he will bring his prior board level and professional experience to contribute with the other board members in the guild’s planning, direction, governance, growth, financial and strategic management, and (of course) technology; all with the perspective of supporting the individual vergers of our Church.

Barry S Norris, VGEC Guild Shop Committee Chair, 2015 General Convention VGEC Booth Co-Chair, Church of the Holy Spirit, Harleysville, Pennsylvania

Head Verger, Church of the Holy Spirit, Harleysville, PA
Cradle Episcopalian
Became Verger in 2005
Joined Guild 2005. Earned Fellowship 2006.
Attended my first conference at Sewanee in 2005 and have attended every conference since
Elected to the Boar d in 2013
Assumed responsibility for Guild Shop within my first year on the Board
Co-chair of the VGEC booth at General Convention in Salt Lake City in 2015

Warden of Church of the Holy Spirit Vestry for 7 years
Diocesan Council 5 years, Finance/Budget Committee 7 years
Chaperone for J2A Youth Groups for three pilgrimages to the UK
Responsible for training and scheduling for all lay ministries

In summary, I take care of the logistics so our priest can take care of the people. I would be honored to serve the VGEC membership for another three years.

Richard A. Parker, VGEC Board Secretary, VGEC Chapter Development Committee member, Founding member, Diocese of North Carolina Chapter of the VGEC, Church of the Holy Comforter, Burlington, North Carolina

I am the Head Verger at my Parish Church in Burlington, North Carolina. I joined the Vergers Guild in 2011 and was awarded my Training Certificate at the Annual Conference in 2012. I currently serve as the Secretary to the Guild.

My work in my local church includes all of the normal duties of the verger which I have enjoyed over the past five years. My work on the VGEC Board of Directors has included two years on the Chapter Development Committee and now one year as your Secretary. I write the minutes for all of the Board meetings as well as the agendas for the upcoming meetings. I also enjoy attending the Mid-Year Meetings at the host church for the annual conference.

If elected for another 3 year term, I would gladly continue to serve as the Secretary for the Guild. Please accept my nomination for a seat on the Board of Directors.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated VGEC activity every year - please join us!

Abstract: Every year the VGEC elects three of the nine board members to serve, using the vestry model of rotating three-year terms. This is your opportunity to get to know the candidates for the VGEC Board election, coming up on Saturday morning, September 24th in Spokane, Washington.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Verger 307 - Keep Calm and Ask a Verger

At the VGEC Annual Conference in St. Louis in October 2015, Bob Mikrut and Cindy Ware leading the "Verger 307" Workshop

By Bob Mikrut, Head Verger at Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, PA

When questions come up just before the service or during planning meetings, we always encourage our congregations, worship teams, acolytes, altar guild, musicians and (sometimes) clergy to, "Ask a Verger!" But when we are stumped or encounter a situation new to us, who do we vergers consult? Answer: "Ask another verger!"

I reside in Philadelphia where I am Head Verger at Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, in the western suburbs. I have co-conducted this workshop since the 2013 Conference in Nashville. Co-presenters with me have included past VGEC past-president and retired Head Verger from Trinity Wall Street, David Jette, and Head Verger Cindy Ware, from Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, KY. Joining me this year to co-present is David Barr, Dean's Verger at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, CO.

We expect questions will abound in the Verger 307 workshop, one of two very informative workshops scheduled for this year’s VGEC 28th Annual Conference in Spokane, Washington, September 22nd through 25th. This conference session features the chance for vergers to talk to other vergers about situations that occur during liturgy, between service participants, or even staff and or clergy. V-307 is for the “well-seasoned” verger, someone who has experience under his or her belt (or chemiere), in any size parish. As a bonus, we have extended the length of the session this year to 90 minutes because it seems we never have enough time to talk!

At past conferences, there was always Verger 101 which is designed to provide a time for those new to the verger ministry to ask questions and talk about what we do as vergers, but many of us felt that we wanted to ask the more experienced vergers about some of the finer points of our ministry. So, at our 25th Anniversary Conference at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, we decided to take action to address the requests for conversation among experienced vergers. Thus, Verger 307 was born.

This workshop consists of question and answer discussions, using pertinent questions that we have heard in previous sessions which work well for many problems or situations that occur for vergers. These questions will be available to session attendees very soon so that you can be ready to discuss them. We will also be asking for new questions and circumstances that occurred in your parishes when you didn’t quite know “what to do” or asked, “did I do the right thing?” We will soon send out a survey to all participants of 307 to collect those questions for consideration to be part of the session. Who knows, your question might take precedence over one from past sessions!

If you have not registered for Spokane, there is still time to register, there are still rooms available, and it is never too late to sign up to attend the Verger 307 workshop! Conference Registration is available through the VGEC Guild Shop using the big red button below. If you are registered for Verger 307, we look forward to seeing you in about six weeks.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated VGEC activity every year - please join us!

Abstract: Even as experienced vergers, we often have questions about the verger ministry in general. Three years ago, in Nashville, we added a discussion and conversation session for vergers who had been in practice for three or more years. Please send us all of the topics you want to hear discussed during the Verger 307 Training Seminar at this year's VGEC Conference in Spokane, September 22-25.

Friday, July 29, 2016

"Verger 101" Training Session at the 2016 VGEC Annual Conference

Duke DuTeil at the helm of Verger 101 in Nashville in October, 2013 at our conference celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the VGEC's founding
By Claude "Duke" DuTeil, VGEC Training Adviser

In about 2 months, the Vergers Guild will convene its annual conference, slated for September 22nd through 25th in the glorious city of Spokane, Washington. It's not too late to sign up to attend the conference. Conference Registration is available through the VGEC website or just click the big red button at the bottom of this post. There is still room for you at the conference - you can stay at the alternate conference hotel (with me and VGEC President Scott Smith and many others at a really good rate with free WiFi and breakfast) and Southwest Airlines can get you to Spokane from almost anywhere in the US and Canada at a pretty competitive ticket price.

At every annual conference there are a number of outstanding training sessions and seminars offered. Many of the session topics vary from conference to conference, but we always have the Verger 101 and Verger 307 training sessions. As your training adviser, I have had the privilege to lead the the Verger 101 seminar for the past few conferences and the Guild leadership asked me to lead this seminar again this year. I am the retired Head Verger at the Washington National Cathedral. Two years ago, building on the dedicated work of a number of fellow vergers, I updated the VGEC Verger Training Course to its current 2015 edition.

What is Verger 101 and who should attend? Verger 101 is an informal question and answer seminar designed to provide a time for those new to the verger ministry to ask questions and talk about what we do as vergers. Anyone is welcome to attend Verger 101 but it is designed for those who are new to the ministry or have been a verger for less than 3 years. For those more experienced vergers a concurrent seminar, Verger 307, is offered.

Serious preparation for Verger 101 begins about a month before the conference. At that time, we will send out a survey to those who indicated in their conference registration a desire to attend 101. This is where you can help form the substance of the Verger 101 training session. From the response to this survey, I will put together a presentation to address the issues those attending have said they want to know more about. That presentation is the starting place for a interactive lively discussion about what it means to be a Verger in the Episcopal Church. At the session, any and all topics can be (and usually are) discussed. I'm looking forward to seeing what you want to learn this year.

Again, if you haven't registered for the conference it's not to late. I look forward to seeing you in Spokane. It's going to be great fun and a awesome learning experience.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated VGEC activity every year - please join us!

Abstract: As a relatively new verger, what questions do you have about the verger ministry in general? Do you wonder about how other vergers coordinate service preparations with the altar guild or choirmaster? Do you want to know more about how a particular liturgical custom in the Episcopal Church originated? Do you wonder if there is a better formula for the fire used to initiate the Easter Vigil? Be sure to answer Duke DuTeil's questionnaire and include all of the topics you want to hear discussed during the Verger 101 Training Seminar at this year's VGEC Conference in Spokane on September 22-25.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Verging In Depth - Mastering The Daily Office

A few prayer references on The Rev. Canon  Matthew Corkern's book shelves
By The Rev. Canon Matthew Corkern, VGEC Chaplain and Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church, Summit, NJ

The most ancient practice in our church is daily prayer. That is, prayer after the form and pattern we learned from Jesus. The form of daily prayer (or The Daily Office) is derived from the Psalms. The pattern has a long and interesting historical evolution to the current practice of providing formal services in the Book of Common Prayer for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline.

The custom of daily prayer is directly related to Christians, culturally, historically, and spiritually. At this year's annual conference in Spokane there will be a session on "Mastering the Daily Office." This service is truly a fascinating connection to Jesus.

Jesus' disciples and the earliest Christians prayed daily in groups or solitary settings. Collectively, the Psalms formed what is often referred to as "Jesus' Prayer Book." Likewise, the heart of what we do today when we pray individually and communally, is found in the Psalms.

Over the centuries, our prayers formed life and worship at the heart of the Church. As the books of the Bible were codified, a daily routine of prayer developed. Saints such as Ambrose of Milan,  Francis of Assisi, and Teresa of Avila wrote and shared prayers. Then, codified sacramentaries emerged in Latin across the Western Church and were used until the Reformation.

From the 1540's, Thomas Cranmer, with great influence from Martin Luther, gave us The Book of Common Prayer, using three main objectives in its composition:

First, the book should be written in English so that those of the "common" folk who could read would be able to understand its contents easily.

Second, the people should be able use this prayer book to pray and converse with God directly, without a priest's presence.

Third, the Bible along with the basic books of services would be available, in English, and readable by more of the population.

Additionally, the Sarum Rite's eight monastic services were collapsed into Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. These two principal daily services, to which special services for certain days which the church required to be kept holy, made the very act of getting through a day of prayer became more approachable for the "reformed Anglican Church".  Further Compline was added to be read just before bed time and could be said alone.

Thus, the structure and content for daily holy life was put directly into the hands of each individual. Our prayer book has been revised several times down the ages only in custom of culturally advancing language and theological polity.

This leads us to ask: is the Daily Office relevant today?  We know that we all have the right to sit alone and pray, extemporaneously or using formal written prayer forms. The Daily Office exists to give us a strong sense of continuity through the ages, using the same lessons, psalms, phrases, and prayer sequences in an all-inclusive version in daily fashion to commune with God, praying as is done around the world using a liturgy, now more than 500 years old, which is fully rooted in Jesus' practices with his disciples.

So, how can one follow this prayer custom? All you need is your Book of Common Prayer. Yet if you are to be intentional about praying the Daily Office, you will need to find the lessons of the day and the Psalms appointed for the day. Use the Lesser Feasts and Fasts or the currently evolving Holy Women Holy Men, to get to know the people who are the saints of the church, the cloud of witnesses for their faithfulness.

We can read straight through the prayers in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline in the BCP, following the rubrics. Or we can access expanded contemplation by using Holy Women, Holy Men with its cited psalms and scriptures and a short biography of the saint who is celebrated on each calendar day. By taking that next step and including prayers, scripture and research of the saint(s) of the day, we get a well rounded perspective of our own position, echoing prayers of our brothers and sisters around the world who are doing the same thing, at the same time.

I believe that the Daily Office allows us to better know that we are a part of the greater whole. We are not alone.The custom of implementing the Daily Office in churches differs around the world, but centrally, we all pray daily using the same prayers and scriptures our ancient ancestor employed.

What a beautiful and comforting thought?!

The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer
SPCK Book of Christian Prayer
Give Us Grace: An Anthology of Anglican Prayer - Christopher Weber
2000 Years of Prayer - Michael Council
Commentary on the American Prayer Book - Marion J. Hatchett
A Year With American Saints - Weber and Cady
Celebrating the Seasons - Robert Atwell
Celebrating the Saints - Robert Atwell

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated VGEC activity every year - please join us!

Abstract: What is the Daily Office? Where did it originate? How is it used today? The Rev. Canon Matthew Corkern, Chaplain of the VGEC, gives us some background and practical advice on this prayer process as originated while Jesus and his disciples traveled the land, praying and preaching to anyone who wanted to hear the word.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Consecrations and Celebrations in England

Stephen Haude escorting the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, the first female diocesan bishop in The Church of England on the occasion of her consecration, July 22, 2015.

By Stephen Haude, Verger at St. Peters Church - Hammersmith, London

Hello dear fellow vergers and friends in America. I’m Stephen Haude (minus the cane I had at your Burlington Conference). We Brits are a little on the poor side, so alas, cost has prohibited us from joining you in Spokane. But we will do all we can to join you in Atlanta next year.

Having just hit my 73rd birthday, this London parish church verger looks back on the past 12 months. Apart from my church nave being encased in scaffolding and undergoing complete restoration with all the hassle that goes with it, I have been so honoured to be asked to virge on the following occasions.

It was Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in her gracious presence. I virged my lengthy procession from the West Door which consisted of all the heads of other religions across the UK.  Then finally, the Archbishop of York. You can see photos HERE and the order of service HERE. The staff vergers at the cathedral were wonderfully welcoming to me and we had a four-hour rehearsal the day before – mostly for the BBC to set up their camera angles. Esther, the Deputy Head Verger was so professional and kind and instructed me in what was required. Guess what? Esther comes from your side of the pond!

Earlier in these past 12 months Rachel Treweek made history when she became the first woman to become a Lord Bishop Temporal. This gives her a Parliamentary Seat in the House of Lords. She especially asked for me to be her verger at her consecration by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the mother church of the Anglican Communion, Canterbury Cathedral. Rachel emerged at the end of the service as the new Lord Bishop of Gloucester. It was such a great honour, and nobody could see my knees nervously knocking beneath the robes! Rachel’s husband, Guy Treweek is also a priest and served his curacy for three years at my London church of St Peter’s Hammersmith. I became great friends with the Treweek’s during this time.

Recently, St Paul’s Cathedral asked me to virge at the big Annual United Guilds Service. Another ‘biggie’! This is for the entire ancient Guilds and Livery Companies of the City of London. What a colourful affair that was! All the Grand Masters in their ermine robes and chains of office with the Lord Mayor of London and High Sheriff. This simple parish verger feels humbled by these many invitations. I must be doing something right!

May God Bless you all.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us! Hurry and register before midnight PST on June 30 to be entered in a drawing to win a $200.00 Apple gift card.

Abstract: Our long and close association with the Church of England Guild of Vergers often allows us unusual insight into the traditions and history of the Church of England. This week, Stephen Haude, verger at St. Peter's Church, Hammersmith, London relates what we would consider a VERY big year of verging ("virging" if you reside east of 7 degrees west latitude).

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Come to VGEC Conference 2016 in Spokane

You just can't miss the VGEC Annual Conference in beautiful Spokane beginning on September 22, 2016

By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager

Dallas Hawkins, chairman of the Host Committee (he's the guy behind all of the planning and arranging - big applause you guys) sent the following "Top Ten Reasons to Attend the 2016 Conference of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church" to start our summer VGEC Conference 2016 information blitz. Take a look. Visit the links. Then let us know what else we need to cover to get you to click on the registration button at the bottom of this post. Have you ever been to the Pacific northwest in autumn? You'll never forget it!
  1. Destination Appeal. Spokane’s lively downtown core offers plenty of options within walking distance. Enjoy local wines in one of the Cork District’s many downtown-tasting rooms. Taste beer from local craft breweries. Treat yourself to culinary excellence that’s making a national name among foodies everywhere. And there's been no recent Sasquatch sightings!
  2. Unbeatable Value. Big city amenities at a fraction of the cost may sound too good to be true, but in Spokane, its reality. Our restaurants, golf courses and attractions and more all come in…at notably less! Hotel and restaurants prices are significantly less expensive than larger cities like Dallas, San Francisco or Seattle. * Source: Runzheimer International, March 2012.
  3. Own the City. We know your conference is just that, your conference. That is why we will do everything we can to insure that we can meet your every need, from special dietary needs to airport shuttle service.
  4. Easy Access. Wherever you’re coming from, getting to Spokane is no sweat. Spokane International Airport is just ten minutes from downtown. We will be offering scheduled shuttle-van service to and from the airport Wednesday and Thursday and on the final day of the conference. The cost will be $10 per person per trip. Details for sign up will follow soon.
  5. Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The host committee has planned a ninety-minute cruise on the beautiful Lake Coeur D’Alene in Northern Idaho, just 40 minutes from Spokane. Fresh air, mountains and majestic eagles are there to greet you in this included trip immediately after lunch on Saturday.
  6. Amazing Food. St. Monica’s Guild will prepare plentiful and delicious food and beverage offerings throughout the conference.
  7. Fabulous Gothic Cathedral. History and architectural buffs will love this Cathedral! St. John’s has become a Spokane landmark and is one of the few examples in the United States of classic Gothic architecture.
  8. Keynote Address Friday afternoon at one o'clock: The Right Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, former presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States. In addition to the keynote address to the VGEC Conference, Bishop Schori will appear on the Dean's forum, hosted by The Very Reverend Bill Ellis, Dean of St. Johns Cathedral at 9:00 on Sunday morning.
  9. Handcrafted Microbrew Beer, In addition to the very high quality and award winning wines offered in the Pacific Northwest, the Spokane region boasts more than two dozen fabulous micro breweries, each with their own special style and character. One of the host committee members mentioned: the craft beer flows like wine!
  10. Win a $200 Apple Gift card! Register by midnight PST on June 30, 2016, for a chance to win a $200 Apple gift card. Time is running out!
  11. Attend all of the 14 sessions and events tailored just for you. Learn Verger lore, customs and practices in depth. Meet your fellow vergers, share Twitter account data, ask all of your stored-up, "...have you ever had to's...?"
I hope that you "get the picture". I myself am immersed in information, schedules, agendas, travel planning documents, hotel reservations, research on the sessions, the presenters, the hosts, our host clergy, the city of Spokane, a certain lake in northern Idaho, our keynote speaker, our board meetings and annual business meeting, and our Saturday night banquet with recognition of new Fellows of the Guild.

Over two years of planning and arranging have been invested on our behalf by the dedicated and talented vergers of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane. Let us convene in joy and spiritual union.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us! Register before midnight PST on June 30 to be entered in a drawing to win a $200.00 Apple gift card.

Abstract: Meet us in Spokane, September 22-25 for more verger-talk than you've every had before. By the way, Spokane has a beautiful gothic cathedral, St. John's, just waiting for our arrival. Also the The Right Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, former presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States is our keynote speaker. "By the way #2" - Great verger lore and practices will be discussed in depth at conference sessions. "Also #2" - Downtown wine tasting and craft breweries await our exploration. There's more. Read on.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New VGEC Store

Just a few examples of what we stock in the VGEC Guild Shop

By Michael Sanchez, VGEC Board Member and Communication Committee Board Liaison

Last week the VGEC membership received an email blast about changes made to the VGEC Guild Shop. There have been some questions about why we made this change and what it means, so we thought we would take a few moments to outline what has been going on these past weeks and months.

Q: So what is the deal with the new store? The old one seemed to work just fine.

A: In 2015, we received a notice that Amazon (who hosted our old Guild Shop) would no longer be offering web store hosting services as of May 1st, 2016. For years, Amazon's web store hosting services have been helping businesses and organizations of all sizes create online stores for their products. This is a separate service from their huge Amazon.com store which is unaffected by this change. We began a search to see which web store provider would best meet our needs, and we settled on Shopify.

Q: If you switched to a new web store provider, why is the address still the same?

A: That is one of the wonderful things about the Internet! It is much like a landline telephone number: you can move to a different house, but keep the same phone number. That's what we did with the shop.vergers.org address. For some, it might have taken a couple of days for your computer to associate the shop.vergers.org address with our new "house."

Q: You redesigned the store. Why?

A: Since we had to a new service, we were not able to keep the same interface. Once our Communications & Technology Committee began migrating the store to its new home, we realized the available flexibility on how our store would look. We decided first on a simple, efficient design so you can easily place orders. Now that we have a little experience with this design in action, we will keep working over the next couple of months on enhancing the initial design.

Q: I notice that at the top of the Guild Shop, there is a pair of links that says "Log in" and Create account."  What are those?

A: Much like our old store, Shopify offers customers the convenience of creating an account that safely stores your name, address, phone number, and payment information.  If you are a frequent shopper of the Guild Shop (and we hope you are!), this is a great time-saving tool.  It is OK if you do not want to create an account with Shopify. You can still order and pay for your merchandise without a Shopify account.  Keep in mind that a Shopify account is a separate account that you'll need to create:  it has nothing to do with your VGEC Membership information. 

Q: I liked the old Guild Shop interface. Is the new store easy-to-use?

A: Yes! Customers will find that this is a very easy store to navigate: from browsing to shopping to checkout, it is a seamless process. We accept all major credit and debit cards, and for those who are concerned about security, our store uses industry standard 256-bit encryption technology.This is the same level of security that many large banks use with their online banking services. As an added bonus for the Guild Shop crew, the back end of the store is much easier to work with, which will help with adding new products and required maintenance.

Q: Is there anything else I should know about the Guild Shop?

A: We are open for business! You can visit us at shop.vergers.org and start shopping now! Be sure to register for the upcoming 2016 Annual Conference, get a new virge, find some VGEC apparel, equip yourself with a chimere, and much, much more. Our online store is the place to find what you need for your ministry. Think we should carry something? Contact Guild Shop Manager, Barry Norris at: [email protected] with your suggestions.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us! Register before midnight PST on June 30 to be entered in a drawing to win a $200.00 Apple gift card.

Abstract: The Guild Shop got a facelift and a new home! VGEC Communications & Technology co-chair and Board member Michael Sanchez, answers some questions about our recent redesign of the Guild Shop.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mike Stitt Honored with LIfetime Membership

Mike Stitt, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Shippensburg, PA
By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager, with Michael Rhodes, Immediate Past Sr. Warden, St. Andrew's, Shippensburg, PA

This great story tells itself.

It begins with a December 16, 2015 inquiry from the Senior Warden, Michael Rhodes, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Shippensburg, PA to the VGEC Membership Committee:

Dear Membership Committee,

I hope this email finds all of you well. My name is Mike and I am the Senior Warden at St. Andrews Episcopal church in Shippensburg PA. I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

We have a wonderful verger who goes "above and beyond" for our parish! We would like to do something nice for him in return. We would like to pay 5 years of his dues. How can we do that?

Could you please let me know how I can get his dues to you? Can I charge on my CC? or can the Church send you a check for $100.00? Please let me know, we would like to present this to him at the annual meeting in January.

Our Verger is: STITT, Michael Cree, Sr.

Scott Smith, VGEC President replied the next day:


I know Michael and this is a wonderful thing! We can definitely do the 5 year payment for $100.

We also have a Lifetime Membership which is $500 (this may be way out of the question, but I wanted to mention it to you as well). If you purchase the lifetime membership, it comes with a very nice certificate that we could make sure that you have in time to present to him.

If you would email Betty Moore on the membership committee at [email protected] she can help you with anything that you need.

Kind regards and my best to Michael,


Scott Smith, President
Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church

Mike responded with good news:


Thanks so much for your email.

I took this to the vestry today and they approved the $500.00 lifetime membership! I was so thrilled! Mike is such a blessing to our parish. Mike inspired me to join the vergers guild and enroll in the training course back in October. I plan to devote all of my time in the new year since my term as senior warden is coming to a close.

It will be great to present this to him at our annual meeting in January! I will make sure to send pictures, perhaps you can do a story on in for the Vergers website.

I have included Betty on this email thread. I just need to know how to get the check for $500.00 to her. I want to make sure Mike is in the dark on all this till after the annual meeting. Could you not update the directory or his account till after?

Thanks so much for all of you help and support on this!


Mike Stitt has served his parish for an extended period, as a leader during worship and as a humanitarian in serving the community with hot meals for those who need nourishment and even inspired his Senior Warden to become a verger too. Michael Rhodes sent the following paragraphs for us to publish in recognition of Mike's service to St. Andrew's:

Mike Stitt is the verger at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Shippensburg, PA. What is a verger, you say? Well, a verger is a person within the Church who assists the clergy in the worship service. The Office of verger dates back to the Middle Ages when the verger was the "Protector of the Procession." Vergers led the procession into the church, clearing the way for the procession and protecting it from vagabonds who tried to attack it. Today, in many parishes you will see a verger ceremonially leading the procession.

The Parish of St. Andrew’s honored Mike Stitt’s ministry as verger at their annual meeting on the 31st of January. The parish presented Mike with a lifetime membership in the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church. Mike is now one of 42 lifetime members in the Vergers Guild that boasts 1,856 active members.

Mike is the “go-to” guy for most things at St. Andrew’s. He is the first to unlock all the doors on Sunday morning and the last guy out to lock them back up. He leads the Buildings and Grounds committee that takes care of maintenance within the Church, the Parish Life Center, and the administrative offices. He also ensures that the outside grounds remain neat, weeded, and well cared for.

The community meal ministry feeds on average 70 people the first Monday of each month. This is a ministry that Mike started several years ago. The doors to the Parish Life Center open to provide a warm nourishing meal to those who need it. There are hopes to expand that ministry this year, to open the doors for a second day each month.

People have been worshiping at St. Andrews for 110 years. It was built in 1906. Mike is an avid historian, and has recorded much of that history in his weekly blog. You can find on the St. Andrew’s web site. (http://www.standrewsshippensburg.org/vergers-voice/) (This wonderful series of historical accounts now numbers 30 entries. Each is really well done and would be good models for any of our home parishes. - Ed.)

Mike is a true blessing to the parish of St. Andrew’s and of great help to the Rev. Barbara Hutchinson, Rector of St. Andrews. Mother Barbara says, “Mike does a great deal for our parish, but equally important, Mike shows our Christian values of respect for all people, seeking and serving Christ in all people, and making the love of God real to everyone who walks through our doors. We are all blessed by his presence and leadership among us.”

Mike may be only one of many vergers in the Episcopal Church, but he is Number One in our book!

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us! Register before midnight PST on June 30 to be entered in a drawing to win a $200.00 Apple gift card.

Abstract: A story of long, dedicated service to a 100+ year-old parish church in Pennsylvania. A story of inspired leadership. A story of a heart for humanity and heart-felt recognition of one of God's most faithful servants.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

VGEC Board Meets in Spokane for 2016 September Conference Preview

VGEC Board of Directors meeting in Spokane (L to R) Michael Sanchez, "Duke" DuTeil, Dallas Hawkins (2016 VGEC Conference Chair), Vyonne Carter-Johnson, Scott Smith, Barry Norris, Richard Parker, Cheryl Lee Cantrall

By Richard Parker, Secretary to the VGEC Board of Directors

The VGEC Board of Directors met in Spokane Washington on April 14-15 for its mid-year meeting and to review the plans for the 2016 Annual Conference. The meeting was hosted by the vergers of the Cathedral of St. John The Evangelist the host parish for the conference this year.

Cathedral Head Verger Dallas Hawkins met us at the historic Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane on Thursday. The hotel staff told us some of the history of the building and showed us the rooms we will use during our stay in September. The hotel was built in 1914 and has been completely renovated. Attendees of the conference in September will no doubt be amazed at this historic hotel.

After the hotel tour, the board convened a business session to review the agenda for its meeting on Friday. We then walked just a few blocks to the Guilded Unicorn - an appropriately named restaurant for the Vergers Guild - for dinner. There we met and dined on extremely tasty shared small plates with vergers from the Cathedral. It was a great time of fellowship for the board and the host committee.

The board meeting was held at the Cathedral on Friday. Dallas met with the board again, and along with several members of his team, reviewed the plans for the Annual Conference. The board went over each planned event for the conference. The times for the breakout sessions were also discussed. The conference host committee has done an excellent job in organizing the entire conference. Please review the planned events in the online agenda for complete details.

Next we toured the Cathedral and the meeting rooms. Plans were finalized for the Sunday service. Our former Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be our guest and keynote speaker and she will celebrate on Sunday. Dallas showed us the vesting area and the procession path. The board then enjoyed lunch served by the host committee. Most meals for the conference will be in the Great Hall of the Cathedral which is a fantastic location!

After lunch, the board met in another business session to further discuss business items. The board heard various committee reports and talked about some upcoming ideas and priorities. One significant change will be in the Guild Shop. For several years, the shop has been run on the web as an Amazon web store. Amazon has announced that they would be closing their web store system and that shopify.com was their migration partner for new web stores. So beginning in May, the Guild Shop will have a new look and a new home. Stay tuned for more news on that soon!

As the shadows lengthened and the evening approached, the board ended its business and prepared for the evening meal. Dallas and his wife Kathy along with Cathedral Verger and Sr. Warden, Bob Stevens, hosted the board in the Hawkins' condo community room for a wonderful meal and good Episcopal fellowship.

As the day concluded, the board felt very secure in the knowledge that the 2016 Annual Conference will be a great event for all who attend.

Please make your plans and reservations to be in Spokane. You will not be disappointed!

Looking forward, Terry Hughes, chair of our Annual Conference Committee sends this important update on planning for future Annual Conferences:

Have you, your church, parish or diocese ever considered hosting a Vergers Guild Annual Conference? The Annual VGEC Conference is a wonderful opportunity for learning and fellowship with fellow vergers and the Guild is always looking for new locations throughout the United States and Canada to hold the conference.

We are currently accepting inquiries or proposals for the years 2019, 2020 2021 and beyond!

The VGEC has an Annual Conference Committee and is developing a VGEC Annual Conference Planning Guide. Annual Conference committee members are available to assist you and answer any questions you may have regarding hosting a conference.

Over the past few years the conferences have been hosted in larger cities and cathedrals with much fanfare. The Guild would like to see some smaller churches and parishes apply to host a conference too. If your town or city is within reasonable distance to an international airport and if you have a church that would hold 200-250 people, a local hotel with sufficient rooms for 150 -200 people, and space to hold the general meeting, seminars and a banquet, we would love to hear from you.

Your local Tourism Board/Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for providing you with the names of local hotels and banquet facilities as well as information on local attractions for vergers and attendees to visit.

If you are interested and are attending the 2016 Annual Conference in Spokane, please approach a member the VGEC Board or you can contact Terry Hughes, chair of the Annual Conference Committee through e-mail at [email protected].

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. Register by midnight PST on June 30, 2016, to be eligible for the drawing for a $ 200 Apple card! The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us!

Abstract: Your VGEC Board of Directors is working on final plans for the 2016 Annual Conference, hosted by Dallas Hawkins, committee chair, the vergers of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington and the parishes of the Diocese of Spokane. Read about the Board meeting held in Spokane this past week...and an overview on how to host a VGEC Conference at your parish.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Verger Commissioning in Hawaii

The Very Rev. Walter Brownridge, Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu, with Duke DuTeil representing the VGEC after the installation of Roth Puahala as Head Verger and Ann Hansen as Assistant Verger on April 3rd.  Photo by Susan Hays
By Claude “Duke” DuTeil, VGEC Training Advisor.

On Sunday, April 3rd, two new vergers were commissioned at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Roth Puahala was commissioned as Head Verger and Ann Hansen was commissioned as Assistant Verger.  Both Roth and Ann are members of the Hawaiian congregation and serve at both Hawaiian and English services at the Cathedral. They join the more than 1800 members of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church serving in churches across the United States, Canada and several other countries.  Notice Roth’s verger regalia in the photo. The ceremonial tapa-like kihei (Hawaiian one-shoulder cape) that he is wearing he dyed and made himself.

I was blessed to be present and represent the Guild at this commissioning service because I was in town visiting grand kids over spring break. I also serve, along with the Dean, on the Board of Directors of a non-profit homeless ministry founded by my father in Hawaii 38 years ago.

Have you been commissioned at your congregation?  If not, talk it over with your Rector, Vicar, Dean, or Priest in Charge. The Guild has a sample commissioning service, on our website, in the Document Library, that can be used in its entirety, or you and your clergy are welcome to adapt or modify it to meet the specific circumstances and liturgical style of your congregation. The Guild can also provide a commissioning certificate to be presented to commemorate the event. A request for a commissioning certificate should be sent to either the Guild’s Membership Committee at [email protected] or the Training Advisor at [email protected]. We would need the name of the individuals being commissioned and the date of the service.  The certificate will be sent to you in a printable PDF.

Depending on the date and location of your commissioning, a member of the Board of Directors of the Guild would like to be present. Members of your board are scattered around the country and will travel modestly to attend if their schedule permits. Should a board member not be able to attend, any member of the Guild can represent the VGEC and present the commissioning certificate as a reminder of the love and support of your colleagues in the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church

Vergers and clergy have questioned whether an individual needs to complete the training course in order to be commissioned a verger in their congregation. Let me clear this up; you are a verger when your Rector, Vicar, Dean, or Priest in Charge says you are! The training course is a valuable tool that can help you in your ministry but it is not a requirement for being a verger. There are currently 1,891 active members in the Vergers Guild. Of those, 365 have completed the training course, becoming "Fellows of the Guild". For more information the training course, see vergers.org/training.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us!

Abstract:  How does one become "commissioned" as a verger? Duke DuTeil, VGEC Training Advisor, reports on a commissioning service in Honolulu, Hawaii and details the framework for a commissioning service.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spokane Annual Conference: Update

Former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be the Keynote Speaker for the 28th Annual Conference of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church in Spokane, Washington. Photo: Magnus Aronson/IKON

By Michael Sanchez, VGEC Board Member and Dallas Hawkins, Host Committee Chair for the 2016 VGEC Annual Conference

We broke the news last week that Former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be headlining as our Keynote Speaker at the VGEC 2016 Annual Conference in Spokane. Since this announcement, we decided to catch everyone up on the latest from the sure-to-be stellar Spokane conference.

The Right Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori's Keynote Address will be entitled, "Ordered for Freedom." How does the ministry of vergers offer creative possibility through setting boundaries? What does this form of leadership have to do with seasons of transition – in liturgy, ecclesial leadership, community life, and beyond? It will be a unique, thought-provoking look at our ministry through the eyes of a former Presiding Bishop, who knows vergers, and it is not to be missed!

The Very Rev. Bill Ellis, Cathedral Dean, will be speaking at a session on Friday regarding the history of the founding and building of St. John's Cathedral, the only English Gothic building in North American built during one generation. Bill Ellis is a historian by education and is looking forward to providing an interesting multi-media presentation.

Dallas wants everyone to rest assured that his team will provide reduced fare shuttle van service between the airport and hotel on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Pick up times will be based on flight and arrival times provided by vergers wishing to utilize this service. Final arrangements are still being made, so keep on the lookout for more details.

Vergers who wish to put on the ritz and rent a formal suit or tux at a specially arranged reduced price for the Saturday evening banquet can do so by contacting Mr. Tux with your size and other measurements. A tux will be ready for you Saturday afternoon for pick up right across the street from the hotel. Go to www.mr-tux.com or call them to place your order at (800) 678-8948. Be sure to let them know you are with the VGEC.

For those who enjoy exploring Spokane, there will be some free time during the weekend to explore downtown Spokane and some of its award winning wineries as well as the resort town of Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Detailed options will be provided.

There will be some live musical entertainment during the weekend which will be a surprise to conference attendees. You won't want to miss it!

Finally, we will offer plenty of good quality nutritious food and snack options during the conference with selections available for those with dietary restrictions and food allergies. Breakfast and snack items, coffee tea, juice and other beverage choices will be provided every day.

Dallas and his team are working on making this the best conference yet! There are still many, many details to come, but we hope that this glimpse into the outstanding work that they're doing will entice you to register now for what will be an unforgettable weekend of prayer, learning, fellowship, and fun.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activity of the VGEC every year - please join us!

Abstract:  2016 Annual Conference Host Committee Chair Dallas Hawkins shares with the VGEC some of the latest and greatest news from his team's preparations for the upcoming Annual Conference in Spokane.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ordaining a Priest from a Verger Point of View

The Right Rev. Andrew (Andy) C. Doyle, Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, ordaining the Rev. Gena Davis in 2010 as fellow clergy support her at Trinity Episcopal Church in Baytown, TX

By Eileen Brightwell Hicks, FVGEC, Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown, Texas

I have been fortunate to serve in various capacities at three ordinations of priests during the past ten years at Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown Texas. These are huge transitional moments in the life of priests and I felt very privileged to have been asked to use my verger skills to help facilitate the seminal services.

Previously I had attended a couple of bishop consecrations here in the Diocese of Texas but was never involved in the liturgy except to once carry our church banner in procession. There were not vested vergers at either of the liturgies that I attended but I was determined and hopeful to be a vested verger at the priest ordinations to be held back home in my parish. All three ordination services were richly rewarding in their own ways for my growth as a verger.

Trinity currently averages less than 200 worshipers attending our two Sunday services: one traditional and one with more contemporary music. As a parish we’ve been around more than 80 years. Eventually we could no longer afford a full time assistant rector so, The Reverend Nick Novak, our rector for 15 years, applied to the Diocese of Texas to join the "mentoring program," now known as the "curate program," in which the diocese pays half of the compensation package for the curate while the mentoring parish picks up the other half, with the understanding the curate will serve two years at that church.

Our three curates came to us, over time, with very different approaches for planning and executing worship. They arrived as transitional deacons from two different seminaries. Thankfully the first curate planned everything including a detailed rehearsal the day before the ordination in 2010. The Very Rev. Russ Oechsel, Archdeacon in the Diocese of Texas, ran the rehearsal and was kind enough to include me in planning the processions, seating arrangements, and many other details. I took notes, listened, and learned. The service was beautiful and seamless. The archdeacon was on top of every detail as the service unfolded. The Rev. Gena Davis spent three months that summer trying out every possible Eucharistic service. Our congregation and vergers learned much about incense, sanctus bells, and our Book of Common Prayer. It was fun for the vergers trying to keep up with her!

About two years later we welcomed our next curate, the Rev. John Soard. The Master of Ceremonies for his ordination in 2012 was a seminary friend who had his own plan for the liturgy. In fact he told me, “Once the service starts, you can’t do anything about something that goes wrong.” There was no rehearsal. I had not worked with an MC and was a bit shocked with his comment and the fact that once the entering procession started the MC nonchalantly took his place with the other presbyters. Several times things almost ground to a halt but with my previous experience I was able to anticipate those moments and help minimize the damage.

In 2014, as the ordination date was announced for curate Beccy Smith Booth, now our Assistant Priest, I offered help in planning and executing her ordination and she graciously accepted. Among other things, I created the seating chart and organized the processions for her to review. Because of all the out of town participants, we had a rehearsal two hours before the service. This ordination allowed me to take on a major role confidently and I was grateful for my previous experiences.

As stipulated by Article VIII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, each candidate is required to sign The  Declaration (of Conformity). The Right Rev. Andy Doyle, Bishop of Texas, always has a bit of fun with this, especially the "...obey your bishop" line. The Bishop says to the ordinand "Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?" Answer, "I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church." The rubrics state, The Ordinand then signs the above Declaration in the sight of all present. (BCP  pp 526-527)

In 2010, as we prepared for the first ordination, there was much discussion how and where the ordinand would sign the declaration. Look around your altar area. How much horizontal space do you have? Our altar rail is about 6"wide but this declaration is a large document. The second ordinand and his MC did not believe me when I tried to coach to him about the need for a pen and a flat surface on which to sign his declaration. Just before the service started the Canon to the Ordinary provided clear guidance on the matter, and I produced the same small table we used at the first ordination and a pen from my purse. For the third ordination I told the ordinand exactly where the Bishop wanted the table and gave her a pen. She did try to re-position the table but Bishop Doyle had me move it back to the original location. This signed declaration is a very important part of any ordination and our bishop keeps his eyes on it!

Our time with the curate program is coming to a close as our rector is retiring in April. If you are lucky enough to be part of a program mentoring new priests, look forward to wonderful opportunities to explain and show them what vergers can do to help them be free to preach and teach and attend to pastoral care of the parish. I do not know what the future holds for vergers at Trinity, Baytown, but many in the congregation are looking to the vergers to keep the Sunday services “normal” as we start the process of calling a new priest. I look forward with eager anticipation to this new phase in my verger ministry. And, in a couple of years, I hope to be able to help verge at a service celebrating a new ministry.

Click the big red button to register for the 2016 Annual Conference opening on September 22nd and running through noon on the 25th, in Spokane, Washington. The conference is the most popular and anticipated activities of the VGEC every year - please join us!

Abstract: Many of us have served at an ordination. Some have taken part in a consecration service for a new Bishop. What if ordinations occurred in your parish church on a fairly frequent interval? Where would you find guidance on assisting the ordinand and attending clergy plan for the event? Eileen Brightwell Hicks, verger at Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown, TX, became a seasoned verger/planner for ordination services in a relatively short period of time. See if what she learned may come in handy in your ministry in the future.