|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.