Friday, July 21, 2017

How does the Vergers Voice blog work?

The Vergers Voice in the old days was a lot harder to distribute than today, but it may have been a lot more fun!
Photo credit http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/23427/newspaper-delivery-boys-on-bikes

By Scott Smith, VGEC President and Vergers Voice Publisher, [email protected]

We want to take a step back and think about the Vergers Voice, the history, where it is, and where it's headed with these questions:
  • Where did the Vergers Voice come from?
  • How does the blog work and who makes it happen each week?
  • What are the best types of posts?
  • Are there vergers out there who would like to help with the blog?

Where did the Vergers Voice come from?


When the guild started in the late 1980's, the very first newsletter about vergers in North America was produced and mailed by Bill Gleason in May, 1988. As the first president of the VGEC, Bill was also thee first editor and it evolved from "The News and Information Bulletin" to "The President's Memo" in 1989 and to "The President's Verge" in August 1991. In 1993, the VGEC newsletters stopped and were followed by one issue of "The President's Agenda" in 1994. In April 1995, "On the Verge" made its debut followed by the inaugural issue of the "Verger's Voice" in February 1996. It's interesting to notice how much that first issue from twenty-one years ago looks like our current blog!

About the newsletters, Bill recently said, "They have always been a total labor of love with many, many people involved over the years. In the early days, I used scissors and glue and tape to put the things together and we put them in envelopes and mailed them from our house. The challenge was always getting people to contribute material for the newsletter, keeping people motivated to keep it going, and to lead the massive effort. I'm sure that's the main issue with the blog today!"

In 2008, Margaret McLarty published one of the last old-style Vergers Voice newsletters and in 2009 helped launch a series of electronic news blasts called "V-Happenings" that was the birth of the current blog. The very last paper copy of the newsletter was printed in July 2010.

In 2012, Ken Holloway volunteered to help start the current blog. He recently said, "The June 2012 V-Happenings asked for help with communications and since I had a lot of experience with writing and publishing, I volunteered. We quickly started building the process for the blog and the first stories I wrote centered on the VGEC Annual Conference in 2012. Over the years, we settled on a weekly blog publishing process in which Scott Smith came up with the topics, I wrote the blog and edited a photo for the headline, then passed the draft to Eileen Hicks as our editor, who, in turn polished the piece and passed it back to Scott for final approval and publishing. Later, we engaged Michael Sanchez to be the final "push-the-button-to-publish" guy.

In 2016, Ken stepped down from regular work on the blog to spend more time as the care-giver to his wife Margaret.

How does the blog work and who makes it happen each week?


Today, the blog is hosted on Blogger which is one of the most popular blogging platforms available. Scott, Eileen, and Michel continue in their roles with the weekly production of the blog. Because we live almost 1,000 miles apart and are in three different time zones, we use a lot of technology to keep the process running. We use Trello as a project management tool which helps keep us on schedule and focused on the topic of the week and upcoming topics. Trello has helped us build a rich pipeline of posts that gives us great visibility into active and future potential topics ideas. Each post has a checklist to keep us coordinated and on track. Everyone in the system is alerted every time someone checks off a task. We stay in touch 100% by iMessage and SMS texting. Michael will tell you how much he loves getting texts at 5am when it's 7am and 8am elsewhere!

When asked about the process, Eileen said, "Compared other collaboration tools that I use, I love the flexibility of Trello. It's very visual but it uses words, too! It seems perfect for verger type to-do lists, checklists, etc but you can also easily attach items and comment on anything. I use it mostly on my laptop but the mobile app is also very usable."

Michael added, "I'm really happy with how the blog has progressed from the early days. There are so many moving parts to putting out a weekly blog, and like anything else, there was a learning curve when we started it. In the old days, we used an E-Mail system from a company called Emma. At the time, it was what the guild needed. However, as we grew and technology became more of a tool and necessity, it became clear that from a back end perspective, it wasn't going to be something we could continue with. There were other services that could offer more features (which made me happy) and at a much more competitive price (which almost made Treasurer Duke DuTeil crack a smile). Now we're using MailChimp, and it's been a wonderful tool. They are constantly adding new features that make my job as "E-Mailer-in-Chief" easier. As we continue to grow, we'll have an E-Mail system that'll grow with us. As I mentioned earlier, it's not something that is always visible from the membership side, but from behind the scenes, it's a most wonderful tool!"

What are the best types of posts?


We recently performed a Survey Monkey poll of all members of the VGEC to see how everyone is using the blog and what types of posts they think are the best. Here are some highlights from the poll:
  • 45% read every article, 47% read it occasionally
  • Over 90% think the blog is a good way to disseminate information about the verger ministry
  • On a scale of 1-5, the blog gets 4.09 rating: we'll take it! Thank you!
  • The 3 most popular topic ares are:
    • Reflections about the ministry
    • How-to articles
    • Articles profiling people/places/organizations
Take a moment to review all of the poll results if you are interested in more information.

Are there vergers out there who would like to help with the blog?


The answer to this question is a resounding YES! We have recently had several posts provided by various members and we're pleased to see that those articles are some of our most popular. Members who have been helping are David Deutsch, John Whitaker, John Campbell, Chuck Dale, David Jette, Duke DuTeil.

In the poll, we asked, "Would you be interested in helping with the blog? If so, how?" The good news is that we got these excellent responses:
  • Writing an article on occasion: 36
  • Copy editing: 12
  • Finding story leads: 3
  • HTML: 1 (only one nerd out there???)
The bad news is that the poll was blind and we cannot contact those members!

If you are interested, please contact us at [email protected] and let's get moving on making the Vergers Voice blog better and better. Just remember if you answered "yes" in the poll, we cannot contact you if you do not send us an email.

In conclusion, Eileen says, "The blog needs more writers! As vergers many of us can write a customary but the blog needs to be a bit more creative. I know there are vergers out there who are writing interesting observations of our humanity as vergers. Share your thoughts with us. The blog is your online newsletter, saving trees, but still binding us as a community of vergers."

This is the number one thing that we hope to do with the blog over the coming weeks, months, and years - encourage members to participate who are interested in creative writing and exploring and relating personal stories about the verger ministry.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]


Abstract: In today's edition of the Vergers Voice blog, we look at the evolution of the blog starting back from its humble paper newsletter days to the lean, mean electronic machine we have today. Also, reader feedback and an open call to the readership for writing, editing, and HTML help.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tales from the Slype 2: It Is In Giving That We Receive

David Deutsch in the Slype at the Washington National Cathedral preparing for Evening Prayer

By David Deutsch, Volunteer Verger at the Washington National Cathedral, [email protected]

I began as a volunteer verger at the Washington National Cathedral in July of 2003. Over the course of my time, I had certain epiphanies that, among other results, told me that this great stone edifice which can look cold and imposing on the outside, actually has a warm heart and vibrant spirit. When I am at the cathedral, I hang out in the slype. Now a slype in medieval times was a covered passageway between the dean’s office and the nave, giving the head of the cathedral easy access to the services. At the Washington National Cathedral, the slype is comfortably furnished, has storage for vestments, the service books, etc. The slype is both a control tower and hanger for worship.

I am enjoying my down time in the slype which usually occurs between 3pm and 4pm. I am doing the crossword puzzle and just this side of dozing. Suddenly bang–rattle–bang. Someone is knocking on the slype door which generally causes the door to crash around. I jump up to see who it is. A docent enters and tells me a man and his son need someone to talk to. By 3pm the chaplain of the day–a priest from the diocese who volunteers his/her time to be on call in the nave for just such occurrences–has gone home. The canons of the cathedral are in meetings or off the Close. The one available person is the verger. That verger is me.

The docent leads me to a row in the back of the nave. The father is a middle aged African-American man. I guess the son to be about 17, dreadlocks, t-shirt, etc. He sits in a row behind his dad and remains aloof and quiet. The dad greets me and explains that they both have not eaten anything all day. Can I get them a voucher for Subway? Or McDonalds? I tell them to wait while I go to the chaplain’s office. I arrive and start rummaging around for anything that looks like a food voucher. I find none. I get angry and frustrated.

As I trek back to the pair, I look in my wallet. It is all ATM money: Twenties. I know conventional wisdom says not to do it. One does not give money to people who come into the cathedral looking for what some might call a handout. But I take out a twenty and approach the father. I mumble something about how I’m not supposed to do this, that I am breaking the rules. But here: Take this twenty. The father’s eyes light up. He takes my hand and thanks me profusely.

But get this. The taciturn, seemingly disengaged teen age son rises from his chair and comes over to me. Whereupon he gives me one of the most humongous bear hugs I have ever received. What a sight of spontaneous compassion entwined with spontaneous gratitude! Dreadlocks mixing with a purple cassock!

For me, this very emotional moment brings to life the line from the Prayer of St. Francis - It is in giving that we receive.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]


Abstract: Volunteer Verger David Deutsch from Washington National Cathedral begins a series of Vergers Voice blog posts entitled, "Tales from the Slype." In part 2, David experiences an event that brings to life the line from the Prayer of St. Francis - "It is in giving that we receive."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

In Service, Fellowship, and Worship at the VGEC Annual Conference

During the 29th Annual Conference of the VGEC, we will spend a day with Crossroads Community Ministries at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta

By Phillip Knight, Chair, Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the VGEC, and Verger at St. Teresa’s, Acworth, Georgia, [email protected]

Friday morning, October 13, 2017, will begin a day of Service, Fellowship, and Worship at the 29th Annual Conference of the VGEC in Atlanta, Georgia.

The day will begin with our wearing work clothes. Our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, will join us for a short three block walk from the Marriott Marquis to St Luke’s Episcopal Church. The walk down Peachtree (THE Peachtree Street, not one of the 1,762 other Peachtree-named streets in Atlanta) is to make a point. We hope that this journey will ground and instruct us and give us chance to become more intimate with the dynamics of an urban church, a downtown church. Peachtree Street will be bustling with rush hour commuters, well-dressed professionals making their way to their gleaming sterile cubes, comfortable and safe in their climate-controlled autos. The buildings along Peachtree Street are clean and inviting.

St. Luke’s is on the corner of the Pine Street intersection, and there is a large homeless shelter in a building across the corner from the church. The view changes rapidly as you turn the corner and head away from the heart of downtown—the buildings less and less inviting, streets no longer freshly swept, the people not so well-heeled. A block distant, yet two worlds apart, the dichotomy is striking. These are the poor among us and are some of the many clients of St. Luke’s Crossroads Ministries. Although we are extremely excited about spending time with Bp. Curry, these men, women, and children of Peachtree and Pine are definitely our focus for the day. They likely will change each of us, if our hearts are open. This can be a sacramental walk.

Crossroads began over 40 years ago when a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church handed a homeless man a sandwich. Today, we are a refuge for people who are homeless in Atlanta, offering compassion with constructive programs designed to give the people who come to us for help the tools they need to get off the streets. Crossroads’ well-trained staff and committed volunteers provide a variety of services to help people who are homeless find shelter and stability. Each year, Crossroads:
  • serves 60,000 meals to men, women and children who are homeless
  • provides 6,500 MARTA passes for employment-related and medical emergencies
  • serves over 4,200 men, women and children
  • provides 3,500 Guests with a mailing address—a critical first step to end homelessness
  • acquires 3,100 state issued IDs and birth certificates for Guests
  • assists with placing 300 Guests in detox and treatment programs; and
  • assists with placing 200 women and children into safe, affordable housing
Many of us will proceed to the Parish Hall, where supplies and equipment to make some 3,300 sandwiches will be in place. We will assemble these for the Crossroads Ministry to distribute to the folks that need them. By the way, we will also be assembling a snack that your fellow vergers will eat just before the Eucharist. The bravest of us will come together to help clean up trash along the back of the campus. This may be a menial task but, in truth, is more valuable as a tool to allow us an excuse to mingle with the men, women, and children who live in our neighborhood (though seldom considered “neighbors!”). We will all gather for a light snack and find our seats for the Holy Eucharist. Bp. Curry will preach, we will sing with the wonderful choir, and experience Anglican liturgy at its very, very best.

After the Eucharist, the vergers will eat lunch, prepared by Clyde Corbin, Crossroad’s Chef Extraordinaire. This will be the third serving shift for the Crossroads volunteers, as they will have already served the same (famous) fried chicken meal to two previous groups of 150 people, beginning at 9:45 that morning. We will all want to thank these volunteers profusely — it will have been a long day for them. There is room for about 150 of us in the dining hall; the rest of us can enjoy our lunch in the beautiful fall air on the grassy hill. This will also be a great time to wander by the table where the Bookstore is selling Bp. Curry’s new book, Following the Way of Jesus.

Following lunch, we will assemble in the Nave for our time alone with the Presiding Bishop. It has been a long-standing tradition of the MEG Chapter that when we assemble for our meetings, the Bishop gathers us about, sits among us, and teaches in the ancient tradition. Some jokingly refer to this as “stump the Bishop,” but there is a much deeper, intimate feeling to this type of interaction. We began calling it formally, “Dialogue with the Bishop.” It is our fond hope that the events of the day will inspire meaningful exchange, divine meaning, and lasting memories.

It is my personal wish that your walk back to the Marriott might seem different from the morning’s walk, and that the day’s events will have changed something about you and something about the places where you see Jesus.


More Top 10 Reasons to attend the Atlanta Conference

  1. Discover the essence of Southern Hospitality
  2. Walk down the world-famous Peachtree Street
  3. 57 streets called "Peachtree”
  4. Run through Centennial Park’s Fountain of Rings
  5. Home of Gone with the Wind – but we’re still here
  6. It’s smarta to use MARTA
  7. Coca-Cola is the elixir of life
  8. A midnight snack in Atlanta is the nearest Waffle House
  9. Witness Atlanta’s horrific traffic from the comfort of your hotel
  10. A snow flurry in Atlanta is the literal end of the world – an imminent Snowpocalypse


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]


Abstract: Phillip Knight, Chair of the Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church, details Friday morning, October 13, 2017, as a day of service, fellowship, and worship for all who plan to attend the VGEC Conference in Atlanta.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tales from the Slype: The Power of Prayer

David Deutsch in the Slype at the Washington National Cathedral preparing for Evening Prayer

By David Deutsch, Volunteer Verger at theWashington National Cathedral, [email protected]

I began as a volunteer verger at the Washington National Cathedral in July of 2003. Over the course of my time, I had certain epiphanies that, among other results, told me that this great stone edifice which can look cold and imposing on the outside, actually has a warm heart and vibrant spirit. When I am at the cathedral, I hang out in the slype. Now a slype in medieval times was a covered passageway between the dean’s office and the nave, giving the head of the cathedral easy access to the services. At the Washington National Cathedral, the slype is comfortably furnished, has storage for vestments, the service books, etc. The slype is both a control tower and hanger for worship.

On a July evening in 2005 I am finishing the service of Evening Prayer in the War Memorial Chapel at the Washington National Cathedral. Evening Prayer is a normal duty for the verger during the late spring and summer with the cathedral schools out and the choristers celebrating summer. Evensong becomes Evening Prayer until the middle of September.

Concluding with, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen," I place my Book of Common Prayer on the low altar rail, snuff out the candles, and walk to the back to greet the congregation.

The last are two men—one looking exceedingly pale and ill. The healthy one asks me to say a prayer for his friend who has a brain tumor and will be facing surgery the next day. I panic. In a billionth of a second the following thoughts race through my mind:
  • I am not ordained clergy, I can’t pray (never mind I had just finished the Office of Evening Prayer)
  • I left my Book of Common Prayer on the altar rail. It would be lame to go get it...
  • Is there no one else around to do this?
  • I don’t know what to say
Then I begin, "Let us pray..." From somewhere the words come forth. When I finish I look up. Both men have tears running down their cheeks. I am overwhelmed. We say goodbye. I leave for the slype to fill in and sign the service book, doing "vergerish" duties preparatory to going home.

It is 2017, and I am still overwhelmed as I look back on that summer evening in 2005 when I truly experienced the awesome power of prayer.

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]


Abstract: Volunteer Verger David Deutsch from Washington National Cathedral begins a series of Vergers Voice blog posts entitled, "Tales from the Slype." In this inaugural installment, David discovers the power of prayer first-hand after Evening Prayer way back in 2005. The memory remains vivid and strong in David's mind. Have you have had a similar experience in your ministry?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Changes in the Church of England Guild of Vergers

John in his Cantilupe Chantry garden with the central tower of Lincoln Cathedral in the background

By John G Campbell BEM. FBGU. FCEGV, Head Verger of Lincoln Cathedral, United Kingdom, and Overseas Liaison Officer of the Church of England Guild of Vergers - [email protected]

We in the Church of England Guild of Vergers are looking forward to our Annual Training Conference, August 14th - 17th, now established at Elim International Centre nestling in the tranquil setting of the Malvern Hills with panoramic views of the Welsh Border from the terrace which also overlooks the swimming pool. Members prepare themselves for a time of; Faith, Fun and Fellowship - Relaxation, Replenishing, Repast and Re-education.

We are also preparing for a change in the administration of guild officers as James Armstrong comes to the end of his second stint in the office of National Chairman. James has served the guild in an extraordinary way bringing to the office his unique enthusiasm and individual talents. We look forward to welcoming a new leader in the guise of nominee John Shearer, who after a career in the National Health Service (NHS), has served in three city churches; St Marylebone, LondonSt Mary Redcliffe, Bristol and presently is serving at Temple Church in the City of London.

Potentially moving to National Chairman, John leaves a vacancy for Guild Training Officer and nominee, Robert Beatie, an assistant verger at Worcester Cathedral, is at the ready to take training and the CEGV Guild Diploma Course on their continuing journey. The Diploma Course is open to all members, full and associate and the four year course consists of; Foundation, Pastoral, Historian and Administration units.

As well CEGV training based events, guild branches (much like VGEC Chapters, both being based on diocese) meet locally where varying programs are offered. Twice a year, Northern and Southern based day events are organized with the latest being a day in the seaside resort of Blackpool on the west coast. A day of sea sand and "kiss-me-quick" hats is expected as well as the possibility of a "Tea-Dance" in the Blackpool Tower.

The total number of members in the the CEGV stands at around 650 at present, attracting vergers from; church, chapel, cathedral and Royal Peculiar. Many hold the title verger, some romanticise with the title of; vesture, custom, apparritor, some are simply the caretaker. All are workers in the vineyard - all are welcome.

All members of the VGEC are automatically "Associate Members" of CEGV and all members of the CEGV are "Associate Members" of the VGEC. Overseas members are welcome at all guild activities, events and courses. Information of these events are available via www.cofegv.org.uk and from the the Virger magazine which is available via email from my office. At present, 88 copies per issue are sent "state side" and any VGEC member not already on the list is welcome to furnish me with an email for inclusion on the distribution list.

We continue to give advice regarding trips to this side of the Atlantic. We offer tips and information and advice regarding itineraries and localities and, when possible, making introductions. Plus we offer general help, advice, and gossip regarding the gamut of the work of the vergers in the UK. In the flesh we have welcomed overseas members from; California, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, Mississippi, Florida, New Zealand and Australia. Look me up when next you are passing through.

As Overseas Liaison Office I am here for you - please use me!


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]

Abstract: John G Campbell BEM. FBGU. FCEGV, Head Verger of Lincoln Cathedral, United Kingdom, and Overseas Liaison Officer of the Church of England Guild of Vergers, offers greetings and news from our fellow vergers. Did you know your membership in VGEC provides an associate membership in CEGV? 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Calling for Nominations for VGEC Board Members

The VGEC Board met with the Annual Conference Host Committee in Atlanta in April, 2017
Photo by Bill Monk - [email protected]

By Darin Herndon, 2017 Nominations Committee Member, [email protected]

As you undoubtedly know, time is drawing near for the 29th Annual Conference in Atlanta. That means it is a good time to look at the Guild's leadership for the future of the VGEC.

The terms of these three board members expire this year:
  • Terry Hughes
  • Michael Sanchez
  • Scott Smith
Each was elected at the 26th Annual Conference in Burlington, Ontario in 2014 and each is eligible for re-election.

The Nominations Committee is seeking up to six nominations from the Guild membership to fill the three open positions.

The VGEC Bylaws are closely aligned with the structure of a parish vestry. This provides for all members of the board to be elected at-large and for the board to subsequently decide individual responsibilities and positions. So remember, we are electing board members and not officers.

When elected, a board member serves for three years and may be elected to serve not more than two consecutive terms.

General Board qualifications and responsibilities

  • Must be a member of the VGEC in good standing (a current membership).
  • Comfortable using and learning technology: email, Google G-Suite (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs), Trello, video conference and collaboration tools, etc.
  • Virtual attendance at monthly/semimonthly online board meetings (using join.me and freeconferencecall.com).
  • Physical attendance at Annual Conferences.
  • Serve on one or more of the Guild committees as chair or as a liaison to the board.
  • Attendance at mid-year board meeting, preferably in person, but online is acceptable.
  • There is no monetary compensation for board activity participation. Expenses for conference, board meetings, etc., are the responsibility of each board member.

Nominations


Please submit your nomination(s) to the committee at: [email protected] by the August 1st. deadline. Contact us at this address if you have any questions.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]

Abstract: Three board members will be elected at this year's VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta. Now is a great time to start thinking about the Guild's leadership for the future of the VGEC. Read about the qualifications of serving on the VGEC board and the process for nominations according the the bylaws of the organization.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Attractions to Enjoy During the 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta

Nighttime in Downtown Atlanta near the Marriott Marquis, the Official Hotel of the 2017 VGEC Annual Conference

By Kay AnderSon, St. David's Episcopal Church, Roswell, Georgia, [email protected]

Atlanta is a city that lives and breathes community, activities, and excitement. There is not a silent weekend in Atlanta, and not an hour when an event does not begin. Atlanta keeps people moving from town to town, park to park, museum to museum, production to production, and it just keeps giving.

In October 2017, you will get to experience a little bit of our life in the little Southern city with the BIG Southern attitude.

Outside of our Conference, there is a mountain of venues, restaurants and events to explore. My job is to give you a taste and let your mind and your scheduler fight it out.

On the VGEC website you can read about the historical and most popular attractions in Atlanta, but here are a few more that you may not know about. Most of them are VERY close to the conference location.

But you have a choice, and I want to make sure you have the opportunity to know about them all. You know about the Center for Civil and Human Rights, CNN Center, Martin Luther King Center, World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, and the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-Fil-A Fan Experience - BUT I bet you do not know about the following:

Tours

Best of Atlanta Film Tour
Sweetwater Brewing Company
Red Brick Brewery
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
SunTrust Park Stadium
Atlanta Segway/Cruzers Electric Car
Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Shows

Woodruff Arts Center
The Fox Theatre
The Alliance Theatre
SkyView Atlanta (The Big Eye in the Sky)

Parks

Piedmont Park
Centennial Olympic Park
Stone Mountain Park

Museums

Museum of Design Atlanta
Fernbank Museum
High Museum of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Atlanta History Center

Festivals (all FREE admission)

Pumpkin Festival
Fall Festival
Destination East Point
Festival on Ponce
Chalk Art Festival (Chalktoberfest)

Atlanta Falcons versus the Miami Dolphins


Sunday, October 15th, 2017, 1 pm at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Shopping and Restaurants


Everyone loves Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza, but the side-street boutiques are the heart of Atlanta.

Plain Fun

LegoLand Discovery Center (some adults come without children)
The Center for Puppetry Arts

Atlanta is home to all things and everyone. You have options, plan ahead, and plan carefully. Atlanta Fun, Atlanta Culture, Atlanta Life, and Atlanta Love are just a few months away.Your Host Committee is working hard to make your visit a great visit. Come and enjoy everything that we have to offer.

We look forward to having y’all visit us. See you in October 2017!!!


Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Atlanta Conference

  1. Spend a day with the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, in service, worship and in grand conversation as our keynote speaker.
  2. Worship in community at churches throughout the city.
  3. Meet the Bishops of Atlanta.
  4. Be part of a service project in support of Crossroads Community Ministries for the un-housed.
  5. Have an unbelievably low conference hotel rate.
  6. We're expecting a record turnout of Vergers from around the world.
  7. Did we mention that traveling to Atlanta is EASY? Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International is generally known as the world's busiest airport, serving more than 260,000 passengers daily and 950,119 flights each year.
  8. You will really like what is planned for the official Reception and Banquet events.
  9. The VGEC Guild Shop, along with a stellar group of liturgical vendors and sources, will be in the Exhibit Hall for your dedicated browsing.
  10. Nearby attractions include the Centennial Olympic Park, College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium, MLK National Historic Site, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the World of Coca-Cola, and everything listed above in this blog.

The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice topics to [email protected]

Abstract: Atlanta is a city that lives and breathes community, activities, and excitement. Outside of our Conference, there is a mountain of venues, restaurants and events to explore. Our job is to give you a taste and let your mind and your scheduler fight it out.

Friday, June 2, 2017

As Vergers, When do we Serve? When do we Worship?

John Whitaker, Sacristan and Verger at Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, contemplates when and how we worship as we do our work in the church

By John Whitaker, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tennessee, [email protected]

Editor's Note: We posed several questions to John: How do we worship when we are vergers or servers? Do we worship while we serve? Are you able to worship at all when you are on duty? Does this make the times that you are not serving even more important? Do we have to find our own spiritual outlets? Or are we missing something? This is his response...

The Eucharistic Minister trainees' eyes glaze over after receiving my instructions on their movements for a typical service:

“Sit up straight...

"Feet on the floor...

"...modest bow to Celebrant...

"...half-waist bow to altar...

"...process in at three and a half pews distance behind the servers in front of you to prevent the procession from being an accordion."

I can tell that they were expecting this to be more of a meaningful experience — maybe even spiritual. Instead their heads are swimming with the movements, the timing and the mechanics of their roles.

At this point I say to them all, "Just remember, everything we do here is a prayer. It is all worship through our movements." Now they appear to be truly bewildered. And who can blame them?

Speaking of prayer, I have the highest respect for those who practice Contemplative Prayer. Personally, I lack their focus. The antipodes of Contemplative or Meditative Prayer is Kinetic Prayer. For those of us who can think and speak better when we are walking about will understand the benefits of kinetic prayer.

One popular version of kinetic prayer is walking the labyrinth. This discipline began in medieval times for persons too poor or infirmed to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury or to the Holy Land. Instead, they would pray and meditate on spiritual attributes as they walked a labyrinth, a discipline which symbolized their own spiritual journey. Walking a labyrinth that was located in their cathedral or abbey garden was certainly safer than a journey to the land of the Saracens, and that certainly helped keep their focus on more spiritual concerns.

The prayer practice using Anglican (or Benedictine) prayer beads is another, though a less active form of kinetic prayer. Moving through the sequence of beads, the supplicant chants a "Hail Mary," a "Gloria," an "Our Father," or the like, while simultaneously focusing on another concept such as a spiritual virtue, an act of praise, or an event in the life of our Savior. The spiritual equivalent of patting one's head while rubbing one’s tummy — difficult at first, but with practice it becomes second nature.

Sparing my trainees the historical perspective of kinetic prayer practices, I simply say at this point, “Who here has seen or heard of Liturgical Dance, and who has seen or walked the labyrinth?” Recognition returned to their eyes.

I continue, “Think of what we do, then, as choreography for worship, or praying the labyrinth. Our actions contribute to the worship and spiritual experience of the congregation, through the economy of our movement, which minimizes the attention on us, and the fluidity of our motion, which allows focus on the Eucharist. Move with thankfulness in your hearts; pray as you serve, and serve with humility as if it were to the Apostles.”

Many months later, when asked to write a blog post to address those opening questions, I began to compare everything that we do as vergers as a prayer, an offering of praise and thanksgiving to God. Our effort is to make the worship service flow beautifully so the focus will be on the Eucharist and not on the mechanics.

I was also reminded of our VGEC motto, “Servitas in cultu et cultus per servitatem” which surrounds the right side of our organization's seal. It roughly translates to, “Service through worship and worship through service.” That truly brought this topic home for me.

How appropriate then, may it be, for vergers and servers in God's church to pray this collect from the daily office (BCP pg. 100, Morning Prayer II):

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our 
being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by 
your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our 
life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are 
ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen.

Yes. Amen, indeed.

Editors note: Please send ideas for Vergers Voice blog topics to [email protected]


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Abstract: We pose several questions to John Whitaker, Verger and Eucharistic Minister Coordinator, for this post. How do we worship when we are vergers or servers? Do we worship while we serve? Are you able to worship at all when you are on duty? Does this make the times that you are not serving even more important? Do we have to find our own spiritual outlets? Or are we missing something? This is his response...

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Retired Verger’s View from the Pew

David Jette with members of the All Saints' Church Altar Guild: Sally Steere, Carol Walsh, and Patricia Row

By David Jette, Retired Verger, [email protected]

My retirement after 30 years as Head Verger of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City was soon followed by a move to Peterborough, New Hampshire, a lovely town of 7,000 people in the Mount Monadnock region of the state. After settling into a new home and different surroundings it didn’t take me long to enter All Saints’ Church, my first Sunday in Peterborough.

There I discovered an absolute gem of Gothic Revival architecture beautifully maintained and appointed. The liturgy, true to our tradition, was comfortably familiar and by the time of the sharing of the Peace I realized the church was full of people, a very healthy sign, and many greeted me warmly as an obvious newcomer. This welcome, though not overdone, was just right to assure my return. I have missed only one Sunday!

After some time, I arranged a meeting with The Rev. Jamie Hamilton, our rector, and we agreed that my involvement would be measured and in no way commence a verger’s ministry in a place where no verger has served. I breathed a sigh of relief and knew this was just right. Of course Jamie and I discussed liturgy, my experience at Trinity, and how I was adjusting to life in small town New Hampshire. I agreed to serve as an occasional lector and work with her on upcoming special services.

I have long believed and have stated many times in verger gatherings that ninety-five percent of our ministry is rightly carried out “behind the scenes.” Our principal role is not to merely don quaint eighteenth century quasi academic garb and lead processions. The ministry of the verger is much more complicated and challenging and I believe more holy than that. To regularly worship from the pew (and I must point out that All Saints’ has chairs rather than pews), has reinforced the truth of this belief and has heightened my discipline to both appreciate the detail needed to offer any meaningful liturgy and to see the larger symbols at work.

This year’s Holy Week observance was the first for me in forty years that I was not an active participant. Before Palm Sunday, I must admit, the rector and members of our altar guild and I walked through all the services but my role through the week was very minimal and appropriately out of view. Let me share with you my images upon entering the church for the Liturgy of Maundy Thursday.

I arrived early and slowly walked down the aisle of the nave and simply gazed at the altar and its furnishing beautifully prepared for the rites of Maundy Thursday. Items needed for the stripping and washing of the altar were in place. A few things including large and very heavy pavement candlesticks had already been removed in order to avoid any awkwardness later. Chairs, basins, a ewer and towels were near the pulpit for the foot washing. The altar of repose in the Lady Chapel was banked with a beautiful assortment of flowering spring plants, a small bank of votive candles was in place for the all night watch that would follow the service and a schedule of those keeping vigil was in a small binder at the entrance to the chapel.

As I returned to the nave and as people were arriving I noticed three members of the altar guild seated quietly together in the front row all dressed in black clothes. I smiled at them recognizing that they in their way had fulfilled the ministry of verger for that time and for that occasion. Everything I observed had been carefully, reverently and quietly carried out by these three very special women before the first person entered the church.

Toward the end of the service when the Blessed Sacrament was carried to the altar of repose and as a cantor from the choir began chanting the familiar words of Psalm 22, these three people with great dignity and purpose in a darkened church removed everything we had used for the foot washing and the Eucharist. To most of the people gathered, I am certain their movements and actions were largely invisible. Well not to me.

As the rector finished the final Gospel reading describing the scene in the garden of Gethsemane, the last action of the liturgy, I offered a quiet prayer of thanksgiving for the work of vergers and all those who with grace and dignity worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness unseen and largely unknown.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Abstract: David Jette, retired Head Verger of Trinity Church Wall Street and new resident of Peterboro, New Hampshire, has long believed that ninety-five percent of the verger ministry is rightly carried out behind the scenes. He says, "Our principal role is not to merely don quaint eighteenth century quasi academic garb and lead processions. The ministry of the verger is much more complicated and challenging and I believe more holy than that." David reflects on this experience at his new parish, All Saints' Church, Peterboro as a retired verger happily situated (mostly) from the pew.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta Welcomes You!

Consecrated in 1962, the Cathedral of St. Philip will be the site of Evensong and dinner on Thursday night and a Festive Holy Eucharist on Sunday for the 2017 Annual Conference of the VGEC in October

By Beth King, Cathedral Verger, [email protected]

As vergers from around the world come together in October for the VGEC Annual Conference, they will be welcomed to Atlanta at the Cathedral of St. Philip with a barbeque dinner and Evensong as the opening events. On Sunday morning vergers will gather once again at St. Philip's for celebration of Holy Eucharist.

Magnificent St. Philip’s is perched atop a hill on Peachtree Road, north of downtown Atlanta, in an area often referred to as “Jesus Junction” in recognition of the numerous churches in the vicinity. The Cathedral is recognized as the second largest Episcopal congregation and the largest Cathedral congregation in the United States with approximately 7,000 members.

The Cathedral of St. Philip is named in honor of St. Philip the Evangelist, a deacon in the early Christian Church, and is the see of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Originally begun in downtown Atlanta, St. Philip’s moved to the present location in 1933 with the building of a gray wooden structure known as the "Pro-Cathedral" that served the congregation as its house of worship while construction of the Cathedral took place. The completed Cathedral was consecrated in 1962. Renovation of all existing structures and the addition of a large new wing and a glass atrium adjacent to the Narthex took place in 2004. A few years ago, a beautiful outdoor labyrinth was installed in front of Lanier House, next to the Cathedral, that is open to all of us who may find a few moments of contemplation.

On Thursday evening, buses will transport all conference attendees from the Marriott Marquis to the Cathedral. On arrival, we will experience the unmistakable aroma of genuine Southern barbeque cooked on premises, accompanied by all the traditional trimmings. For those requiring gluten free or vegetarian meals, it will be imperative to indicate this in your conference preferences. If you need help with your conference preferences, contact [email protected].

Another Southern treat, bluegrass music, will serenade us as we enjoy dinner. Following this wonderful time of food and fellowship, we will move into the nave for the Office of Choral Evensong beginning at 7:00pm with Bishop Keith Whitmore officiating and offering the opening homily of the conference. We will also have the exceptional and award-winning Cathedral Schola as the choir.

Not to be missed is the Cathedral Bookstore which will be open the entire evening. In addition to the items you may wish to purchase for yourself or friends, the store will have an ample supply of the choir’s recordings, books written by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, and Bishop Alexander’s book, "Celebrating Liturgical Time." Both authors will be available to autograph any purchases later in the Conference.

Guild guides and Cathedral ushers will be available throughout our activities Thursday and Sunday to assist with directions at the Marriott Marquis, to help in the boarding/unloading of buses and to offer assistance while in the Cathedral. Following the dinner and Evensong, we will return by our buses to the Marriott Marquis.

On Sunday morning, we will have the privilege of participating with the good folks of the St. Philip’s parish in honoring their patron saint. This will mean spectacular music and liturgy with The Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler, Dean, as Celebrant and The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, tenth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, preaching.

It will be necessary for all vergers to vest Sunday morning at the Marriott Marquis before boarding buses for transportation from the hotel to the Cathedral. On arrival, we will gather to process into the nave. Vergers will enter during the voluntary and sit as a group in reserved seating in the transepts.

After the liturgy, vergers will remain in place in the transepts and once the nave is cleared, we will gather in the chancel for the official Annual Conference group photo. The buses will then return everyone to the Marriott Marquis for immediate check out of the hotel and departure. Late checkout will be available for those requesting this in advance.

Did we mention that Atlanta has one of the most beautiful autumns in the country? The entire Atlanta Conference Host Committee cannot wait to personally say to everyone who comes, "Welcome to Atlanta, y'all!"


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th. We hope you can join us! Click the big red button to register today. You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Abstract: During the VGEC Annual Conference in October, the Cathedral of St. Philip will host two days of events on Thursday and Sunday. Cathedral verger, Beth King, tells us about the Cathedral and provides detailed information about what to expect.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Almost Done!

Duke DuTeil, Treasurer of the VGEC, has been cooking the books since 2010. Here he is also cooking communion bread for the 2012 Annual Conference in Lakeland, Florida

By Duke DuTeil, VGEC Treasurer and Training Advisor, [email protected]

Friends, it has been a joy serving as your Treasurer for the past six and a half years. I was elected to fill an unexpired term at the Annual Conference in October 2010. There have been many ups and downs as the guild has grown and we integrated to a computerized financial tracking system. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure on your board, my time is soon coming to a close.

Don’t panic, I’m not quitting mid-stream, I’m not dropping out of the guild, and I plan to remain as the Training Advisor for the foreseeable future. However, I will be stepping down as your Treasurer when my board term expires at the 2018 Annual Conference in Denver. While this is a year and a half away, we need to start thinking about our next Treasurer NOW!

One of the things I learned as I came onto the board is the difficulty of learning how the guild functions, its policies and guidelines, and integrating myself into the board while trying to stay on top of the new financial obligations as your treasurer. While it is second nature to me now, know that it was a tough start. It really would have been a blessing had I had a year to serve on the board; to learn its ins and outs before jumping into the Treasurer’s job. This is why I strongly believe that we need to start thinking about a successor now. And that process starts with you!

In the coming weeks you will be hearing from the Nomination Committee. They will be soliciting nominations for individuals to stand for election to the board at the 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta. I challenge you to think hard and pray about who might a good fit for the board now and would be able to step up into the Treasurer’s role when I step down in the fall of 2018.

Remember, we are looking for someone who is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Oops, wrong organization. We should be looking for someone:
  • Possibly with a banking or accounting background
  • With a small business management background
  • Who can spend about 20 hours a month with our banking and accounting system
  • Who can control the off the wall spending habits of certain board members (not to mention any Scott Austin Smiths by name)
  • Who has to know, or be willing to learn, how to use Quicken
  • Who is computer literate and comfortable with using new web-based technology and tools
If you think this might be you, here are some things you ought to know about the job:
  • You will spend a joyous amount of time working with Quicken
  • We operate the treasury through a Bank of America checking account with 3 savings accounts
  • Five board members have debit cards and you will get to have fun tracking down receipts from them
  • You get to spend a bunch of time each week in the Guild Shop Shopify account reconciling shop deposits into the operating account
  • PayPal needs to be reconciled and funds transferred monthly
  • You will have me as a backup (if you can find me, I’m retired with 20 grandkids)
  • You will never hate and love a job more than this one.
If you are thinking about someone for this position or think it might be you and want to talk, email me at [email protected] and we will set a time to get together.


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th.  We hope you can join us!  Click the big red button to register today.  You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Abstract: Duke DuTeil, current Treasurer of the VGEC, will complete his board term and tenure as Treasurer in 2018. It's not too early to start thinking about who will replace him in that role. What is the job really like and what are the characteristics of a good treasurer for the VGEC?

Monday, May 8, 2017

VGEC Board Meets in Atlanta: Progress Update for 2017

The Board of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church met in Atlanta on April 24 and 25, 2017 at the Cathedral of St. Philip. Photo by Bill Monk - [email protected]

By Scott Smith, President VGEC Board of Directors [email protected]

We all know personally that much of the work of the verger and other liturgical servers is behind the scenes making sure everything is set for worship services. Most parishioners and visitors in our churches do not realize just how much work goes into liturgical preparation. The same absolutely is true for the VGEC board and the work of the many committees serving the guild.

The VGEC board met with members of the 2017 VGEC Annual Conference Host Committee at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia last week and made a lot of progress on a number of goals. Our goals for 2017 are:
  • Produce Annual Conference guidelines to help streamline conference planning
  • Continue improving MMS v1 (Membership Management Services) and build requirements for MMS v2
  • Improve the VergersVoice.org blog and focus on committee development and content management
  • Develop Diocesan Convention Kits with materials that we can use to spread the good news of the verger ministry within our own Dioceses
  • Work on Membership and Parish audits to actively reach out to members and potential members; launch new membership cards
  • Design and launch the new, “I am a verger, count me in!” marketing campaign for 2017 and 2018
  • Create and develop the Governance Committee to focus on transparency and business continuity
I asked each Board member and Chuck Dale, the Chair of the Atlanta Committee, to provide a short description on their personal observations during the meeting and also to report briefly about their areas of committee responsibility. Have you ever known a group like this to do anything "short" or "brief???" They no doubt laughed at me for asking this because I am probably the worst offender. Ok, here we go in alphabetical order...

Cheryl Cantrall, Vice President and Membership Committee Chair

I think we have great news from the VGEC spring board meeting! For a few months now we have been working on creating a “Credit Card” type of membership card for the VGEC. The idea was presented in detail at this meeting and we are now moving ahead with the project. It will replace the printed certificates we now send when membership is renewed. Members who wish to still have a printed certificate will be able to login to their membership.vergers.org account and easily print out a hard copy certificate. We are working to have the cards ready to be sent out by the Atlanta Conference. Look for a blog post about that very soon! Look in your mailbox soon for your membership information letter which will be sent via postal mail to all members. These are mailed so everyone can update their information for the directory, make sure there are no changes in information, and for those who like to renew their membership with paper. We are also always looking for ways to add new members! If you know of vergers who are not members, please ask them to join with the “Free 6-month” trial membership. We have had great success with increasing our membership with this "try before you buy" plan! Contact me at [email protected].

Vyonne Carter-Johnson, Governance Committee Chair

At this meeting, the Board continued to define the areas of oversight for our newly-formed Governance Committee. It has such an austere sounding name that we certainly hope to give it some heart! The purpose of the committee is to ensure that the VGEC is operating within the guidelines set forth in the Governing Documents of the organization which include the Articles of Association and the Bylaws. We are already making progress in making sure that the board has followed through with all open issues from prior meetings and we are working on validating and expanding our committee structures. It is a true honor to serve on the Board and represent the guild members. Contact me at [email protected].

Chuck Dale, 2017 Annual Conference Host Committee Chair

The Atlanta Host Committee was very pleased to welcome the VGEC board to Atlanta and we greatly appreciated the opportunity to interact with the everyone there. Joining us from the Atlanta Chapter was Phillip Knight, Martha-Sue Blythe, Yolande Collins, John Haeger, Beth King, Bill Monk, and Ruth Anne Tatum. We reported that conference registrations are brisk; we anticipate the largest gathering of vergers in the history of the VGEC! Hotel reservations at the Marriott Marquis are being booked at an even faster rate. Already 75% of the room block set aside for us has been committed. The Atlanta Host Committee has begun an effort to find additional rooms. We encourage all vergers to book hotel rooms right away. At the meeting, we reviewed the conference agenda in detail. We drilled down into many of the details together and had productive exchanges of ideas to enhance the experience of all vergers attending. It was indeed a pleasure to work with the board and believe that the VGEC members can all be proud of their board who take their roles seriously and together function seamlessly for the benefit of vergers everywhere. Contact me at [email protected].

Duke DuTeil, Treasurer and Training Committee Chair and Advisor

We have made progress on making sure that our board meeting minutes are updated at archives.vergers.org, so watch there for full details of the meeting when they are approved. We spent a good amount of time looking at the finances of the guild. We looked at how the fiscal picture informs other aspects of the guild and where needed we made some operational changes. Some of those changes will be transparent, others will become visible as we roll them out. We will detail all of those changes in future blog posts. All in all, this was a very good board meeting and a great chance for some face to face time with the hard-working MEG Chapter of the VGEC in preparation for the Annual Conference in Atlanta in October. I hope to see you there! Contact me at [email protected].

Darin Herndon, Technology Manager

Three phrases from the mid-year board meeting, my first, are anchored in my mind. First, "I can't believe how much we have gotten done." Second, "$10-15 to ship a bumper sticker?" And third, "Given the other changes we made, we're coming to think your idea is better." It was a full weekend with a packed agenda. Even with the agenda to keep us on track, the president mentioned that at times in the past the board would spend so much time on certain topics that others had no time at the mid-year meeting because we ran out of time to discuss in person. So, before we even started, a set of items were identified that had to be discussed and that group was tracked as a running list. In the end, multiple board members made the same comment about how they could not believe how much we covered. Of particular note during the meeting, I was able to observe the board begin discussing a topic from the perspective of how it had been handled in the past and, through constructive dialog, talk ourselves into taking an approach already offered by the host committee in Atlanta. While it is natural for anyone to start with rubrics and "how we have always done it," the board moved past that to adopt a better solution from outside the board because it was the better solution. So, for my first face-to-face board meeting, I am spoiled because I will measure all board meetings against this one for how much it accomplishes, how it takes responsibility, and how it is open to solutions from any part of the guild. Contact me at [email protected].

Terry Hughes, Annual Conference Committee Chair

Our meeting in Atlanta was really productive and we resolved a large number of outstanding issues. The Atlanta Host Committee did a great job updating the board on their progress with finalizing what is going to be a very unique and amazing conference in October. A major focus of our committee's work has been developing the “Annual Conference Guidelines” one of the board's goals for 2017. A draft form is now available for those preparing to host conference and to those who are thinking of hosting a conference. Contact me at [email protected].

The Rev. Walt Kindergan, Associate Chaplain

One of the items that we wanted to give a bit more attention to at our next conference is to provide the opportunity and a place for private prayer or to meet with one of our chaplains. As a guild of ministers in the church, we have always been a people of prayer in whatever we do. However, as we continue to grow and our conferences expand, we want to be sure to afford an opportunity for prayer or conversation as we also attend to the business of the conference. Working with the Atlanta Conference Committee, we plan to have a small chapel near the main business area where anyone can rest in quiet prayer or meditation, or also meet with a chaplain if that is desired. Our Chaplain, the Rev. Canon Matthew Corkern, and I also hope everyone will keep other vergers in their prayers all year long using our online Verger Prayer List at vergers.org/prayer. Contact me at [email protected].

Margaret McLarty, Immediate Past President and Episcopal Relations Chair

This recent gathering in Atlanta was a very exciting time as we plan for the our next Annual Conference in October. We all know that this conference will be exceptional. The host committee has done a wonderful job in preparation and I can hardly wait to have our Presiding Bishop Curry join us. I think he will lovingly and pastorally challenge us personally and organizationally to live into our ministry of verger in today’s church. In other matters, the board continues to analyze how to best provide information and resources to our members as efficiently as possible. Our training course is a major resource for introducing and preparing members for our ministry. The Guild Shop will continue to provide supplies and verger items for our members as cost effectively as possible. Communication is an important priority for the guild and is always at the forefront of board discussions. Finally, the Nominations Committee is constantly looking to find and solicit participation from our membership in guild activities, and I encourage any member to become active in the work of the guild. My participation continues to be one of the most personally meaningful attributes of my verger ministry. I hope to see you in Atlanta!! Contact me at [email protected].

Barry Norris, Guild Shop Committee

This is my fourth year on the board, and I believe that it was the most productive board meeting that we have had. It was a day and a half of good discussion and decision making; and some of that discussion of course had to do with the Guild Shop, located online at shop.vergers.org. Our goal is to operate the shop on a break-even basis and with today's shipping charges, this has become very difficult. We will be making changes this year making sure that the shop is indeed budget neutral. We also will be making some changes to how the shop operates at the Annual Conference. The cost of shipping the stock of items to the Annual Conference for the Guild Shop to have all sizes and styles available for purchase just is not cost effective, especially since about half of the merchandise has to be shipped back to the supplier. This year at the Atlanta Conference, the Guild Shop will have a supply of the smaller, less expensive items for sale, such as the lapel pins, seal badges, lanyards, bumper stickers, and decals. We will have samples of the clothing and larger, more expensive, items and a computer will be available for you to order items to be shipped to you. Contact me at [email protected].

Richard Parker, Secretary and Chapters Committee Chair

I had a great time in Atlanta where we met with a lot of the folks who are working together to host the 2017 Annual Conference in October. To say that this is a hard-working group is a major understatement and we are all very excited about what they are doing and how they are doing it. I am very pleased with the Governance Committee and what we are doing to make sure we are living into the bylaws of the guild. We are trying to do our part from the Secretary's office making sure that the minutes of ALL meetings are available in the guild archives immediately after they are approved. We are also working hard in the Chapters Committee to make sure that we help develop the Diocesan Kit that we have been talking about for some time. All in all, this was a great meeting and it is always a pleasure to meet face to face with the group. Contact me a [email protected].

Michael Sanchez, Communication and Technology Committee Board Liaison, Social Media and Web Site Manager

The Communications and Technology continues to work behind the scenes to provide our membership with a first-rate experience! We are in the final steps of mailing the Annual Conference postcard and we have been working with the Annual Conference Committee to put together guidelines for conference hosts, which helps us solidify policies and procedures that have been communicated by verbal tradition for years. Now they have been written down and it's much more official! We are working with the Membership Committee on the Membership Card project that you'll be hearing more about in the weeks to come. Finally, we are helping with one of the board's goals by helping to get a Diocesan Convention Kit created so that members can have materials to display at their diocesan conventions. This is a cross-committee project and we play a major role. We are looking forward to providing this resource to the entire membership! Contact me at [email protected].

Scott Smith, President

It's kind of neat how my last name gets me all the way down here to the end of this blog post! Obviously, I agree that this was one of the more productive mid-year board meetings we have ever had. I really want to thank every board member who made this trip to Atlanta on their own dime in support of the VGEC. This is a huge, and often thankless, commitment to VGEC and I think we need to recognize that. I also want to thank each and every one of the 2017 Atlanta Annual Conference Committee members who were able to attend and also those who could not. This is an impressive group of vergers dedicated to making this conference a huge success. Finally, I cannot be more excited about the hard work being performed by all of the many committee members in the VGEC. We have a truly awesome guild and we are able to do amazing things when we work together! Contact me at [email protected].


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 12th through October 15th.  We hope you can join us!  Click the big red button to register today.  You can also read more about the conference and book your hotel.



Abstract: Your VGEC Board of Directors had a productive mid-year meeting in Atlanta and want to tell you about their work behind the scenes. Perhaps you might want to serve on one of the many VGEC committees or the board? There is a lot going on in the Vergers Guild and many ways to get involved!