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, September 22, 2017

The Verger Checklist Manifesto

Good checklists can really help vergers and The Checklist Manifesto puts it all into perspective

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

As I read Dr. Atul Gawande’s short but fascinating book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, (2009, Henry Holt and Company, New York) I knew right away why VGEC President Scott Smith asked me to write a review. This book could be extremely helpful to many vergers.

Dr. Gawande focuses on the medical profession to explain the theory behind the checklist, its application, its creation, and its difficulties in finding acceptance. But his clear intention is to raise the possibility that many people in many professions could benefit from using a checklist.

This book is an easy read and I highly recommend that all vergers, especially head vergers, read it. While I realize many of you might already be using a checklist for services, this book is particularly useful in that it explains the difference between a good checklist and a bad one. Below are a few factoids from the book.

The checklist came into use after a prototype bomber, Boeing’s Model 299, crashed during takeoff at a critical competition in front of U.S. Army Air Corps brass in 1935. The crash killed the highly experienced test pilot and wrecked not only the plane but Boeing’s chances for getting a contract. The problem: the pilot, Major Ployer P. Hill, forgot to release a new locking mechanism for the rudder and elevator controls. The checklist was born. Boeing eventually got the contract back from Douglas and built the Model 299 which became the B-17, one of the most famous planes in aviation history.

It is important to note that a checklist is not a detailed customary explaining each step of a project. A checklist sets forth the minimum steps possible in a process and makes them explicit. Dr. Gawande writes of the years of designing a checklist to be used in surgical operations around the world. The finished product had only14 steps. Put forth by the World Health Organization, it has saved many lives in both prosperous and third-world operating rooms. Checklists are not “comprehensive how-to guides... they provide protection against failures. They remind us of the minimum steps and make them explicit.”

In order to find out what makes a good checklist, Dr. Gawande visits Daniel Boorman at Boeing, a veteran pilot who has spent two decades designing checklists:
There are good checklists and bad. Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical…They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on. Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise... They do not try to spell out everything... They provide reminders of the most critical steps... Good checklists are, above all, practical.
To summarize the book, good checklists are
  • Concise
  • Precise
  • Practical
  • Protection against forgetting procedures that are done over and over
  • A guard against the fallibility of human memory
  • A prevention against accidentally skipping steps
  • Buttress skills
  • Must be constantly reviewed and refined lest they become “ossified mandates.”
  • Allow room for judgment—judgment enhanced by procedure

Can a checklist be useful to the verger? In order to think more deeply about the use of checklists, I very much recommend that we vergers read The Checklist Manifesto. It may enhance smoother running of the liturgy during our services which, as we know, can have many moving parts.

BTW: If you use a checklist at your services, how is it working for you? Or, if you tried using one and discarded the idea, why?

Coda


I have never forgotten the installation of a new rector who I knew and very much liked. It promised to be a wonderful service which included a baptism. Installations are complicated—a one-off service, if you will—but all was humming along splendidly. Then, as the baptism began, it was discovered that no one filled the ewer with water.


Did you know that we have a huge number of shared documents in the Vergers Document Library online? See vergers.org/resources/library.

We have a whole section of Verger Checklists in the library that you might explore.

You can also submit your own checklists to Eileen Brightwell Hicks the volunteer Document Library Manager at [email protected] for possible inclusion in the library!



The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations! Registration is $275.00 per person.




Abstract: Do you use a checklist for regular Sunday services? Here's a book that can help you start utilizing checklists or refine the ones that you currently use. David Deutsch reviews and recommends that we vergers read The Checklist Manifesto.


Friday, September 15, 2017

A Verger without a Chimere and Virge is — a Verger!

How often do you use a virge and a chimere when you are a verger in a small parish?


Verging in a Small Parish


by Joseph John, St. James' Episcopal Church, Pewee Valley, Kentucky, [email protected]

Is there really a difference between verging in a large church versus a small church?

YES. NO. MAYBE.

What a cop out response.

However, let me first say “Ahh!”

Ahh, yes, the chimere, the virge, the procession down the aisle. Yes, that's just one of the enjoyable "perks" of being a verger.

However…forget the Ahh!, the vestments and the "stick" (or virge), for a moment. I believe the role of being a verger is directly related to the size of the church, plus the history of the church's liturgical processes, plus the season of the year, plus the pre-disposition of your rector towards liturgical processes and verger involvement — always keeping in mind that the verger serves at the pleasure of the Rector, Vicar, or Priest-in-Charge, or the Senior Warden.

In other words, a verger in a small parish with an average Sunday attendance of 75 or less may or may not be vesting and processing on a regular basis. So be it.

Let's begin with the baseline of responsibilities for the verger — large or small church. An excerpt from the vergers.org web site entitled "The Verger Today":
The verger's logistical and behind the scenes support allow the clergy more time for pastoral and sacramental responsibilities. We often say that every parish has a verger whether or not they are identified as such. Some typical verger duties are assigning, training and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes and prayer intercessors. The verger often coordinates with the altar guild and funeral guild. In some parishes the verger checks lighting and sound.

The precise duties of the verger will be specific to each parish church. For instance, in some parishes the verger will process at all liturgies and in others, they only process on Feast or Festival days. Especially helpful with visiting clergy or special services, the verger checks on additional seating, hospitality and welcoming newcomers. Most parishes, either small or large, and clergy who incorporate the verger position, wonder how they ever did without vergers!
Indeed, we as vergers are very busy; however, I think the small parish verger is even busier simply because there aren't a lot of people to divvy up responsibilities — there’s just ONE of me. No other bodies — no delegation of responsibilities. With the benefits of delegation being lessened dramatically, there is more "doing" and "git 'er done" required of the verger. Small church vs. large church is simply the difference of having bodies or critical mass to accomplish the many jobs a verger typically performs in any parish.

Yes, for the small parish verger, there is less pomp-and-circumstance and more behind-the-scenes work. He/she is working with the Altar Guild, the Worship Committee, the organist, the Parish Administrator, ushers, acolytes, Episcopal Church Women, and more.

Speaking of acolytes, invariably, there are fewer acolytes in the small parish, which then increases the challenges of training and scheduling around Mom and Dad's busy Sunday, weekend, and vacation schedules. Oh, my, there are countless times that I believe that it's a lot easier to herd cats or bishops.

Structure and attention to detail is Rule #1 for any verger, and Rule #1 is critical in the small parish. He/she must be organized and focused since there is always a bunch of running back-and-forth to ensure that the "show" goes on — without a hitch. Again, rarely is there anyone present to whom responsibilities can be delegated.

Rule #2 is flexibility. The verger has to be flexible for there will be changes during the liturgy that weren’t planned and so, the verger must accept the fact that every Sunday is "live theater" and thus, things change very quickly. Let's face it — the verger is a stage manager for the liturgical services.

I mentioned more personal "doing" rather than "delegating"; well, the small church many times lacks a sexton, and so the verger in the small church will often be responsible for opening the church, the parish hall, and all of the "locked doors" that need to be opened for easy access to the services.

Are there other challenges to the small parish verger? Oh, yes. A major challenge is the small parish that lacks a full-time rector. A verger in a situation like this becomes a major asset to the Vestry and the Search Committee as he/she keeps the Sunday services flowing while working with supply priests — one less thing the Senior Warden and the Vestry has to worry about.

The verger greets the supply priest, makes all the necessary introductions to those who will be involved in the liturgy that day. He/she reviews the liturgical processes for all services that should have been prepared by the verger and emailed to the priest earlier in the week.

And then the "stage manager" does a sound check, checks the lavaliere and shows the priest where to vest, the all-important location of the bathrooms and, of course, the freshly brewed coffee. And the list continues.

Well, all the responsibilities I've listed in this article come as no surprise to vergers throughout our churches. It’s really more of a "there's ONE of me" in the small church as compared to "there's more of me's" in the large church.

So is there really a difference between verging in a large church versus a small church?

YES. NO. MAYBE.


Did you know that you can submit your own story about the verger ministry for possible inclusion in the Vergers Voice blog?

We are always looking for interesting topics, ideas, and creative ways of demonstrating the power and enjoyment of being part of the fellowship of the VGEC and our ministry of service.

If you have any ideas, or if you would like to take your turn at writing a post and sharing ideas, send them to [email protected]!



The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta is coming very soon on October 12th to October 15th. Registration is $275.00 per person. The deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations!




Abstract: Recently, vergersvoice.org asked the members of the Vergers Guild to consider submitting ideas and manuscripts for the blog. This post was submitted by Joseph John, a verger in a small church, average Sunday attendance of 73, in Kentucky. See if you agree with his summation of the difference between verging in small and large churches.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tales from the Slype, Part 4: There will be Earthquakes...

Fallen angel on the roof of Washington National Cathedral (photo by John Stuhldreher)

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

I began as a volunteer verger at 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 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. This is part 4 in the "Tales from the Slype Series:"

…there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. – Mark 13:8

What the hell is that banging noise? On August 23, 2011 at 1:50pm1, I am sitting in the slype, drowsy from lunch. The crashing sound immediately jolts me fully awake. I hurry to the door to see what is going on in the nave. But arriving at the slype door, I realize that sound is actually the door itself. Although closed with the latch, the large wooden door is bouncing around on its hinges, pounding back and forth creating a huge racket. I am beginning to feel a bit unsteady on my feet.

I open the door and immediately notice the nave looks eerie. Dust is swirling around blocking the light. The floor feels unsteady. I cannot process what is happening. I want to move more into the nave, but I cannot. Then I hear security—

"Earthquake! Everyone leave the cathedral!" That jolts my neurons and synapses. I am fully awake. My brain is racing. I know what I have to do.

I reenter the slype. Sitting at the computer, I log on and go to my Facebook page. I post an update:

I am at the Washington National Cathedral in the middle of an earthquake.

["YOU! GO NOW!" A security officer has poked his head into the slype.]

I have to leave. More later.

I log off, gather my stuff, exit through the North Entrance, and gather on the grass with other evacuees. On my way out, not far from where I exited, I saw a huge finial sticking into the ground like a guided missile. It had fallen off from the roof of the cathedral. Hmmm, I wonder if outdoors is the safest place to be. Soon we are told to go home.

"Home" lasted nearly two months. The magnitude 5.8 earthquake shut down the House of Prayer for all people causing 34 million dollars worth of damage. But, in some ways, the Cathedral came through quite well. Here is an excerpt from The Day the Earth Shook: Washington National Cathedral Earthquake Restoration by James W. Shepherd, AIA, LEED.
In some ways, it is amazing that the Cathedral performed as well as it did in a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. To truly understand the extent of the damage, however, one needs to look closely at the structural flying buttresses and the decorative architectural elements that extend above the roofline.

As the seismic energy worked its way through the ground and traveled upward, it was released through the displacement of the highest and most slender components of the Cathedral—and also, one of the highest geographical point in the city. Delicate pinnacles on the Cathedral's towers, each weighing thousands of pounds, spun and burst apart from the seismic force unleashed in less than a minute. One gargoyle was decapitated...

Inside the Cathedral, the "debris fields" held clues to where the stone vaulted ceiling overhead experienced the most movement. The seismic waves shifted stones, causing mortar to loosen, crack and fall. In some cases, the ceiling stones cracked and spalled2.
An earthquake not only shakes the earth but shakes up the mind as well. What we take as solid can crumble. What we perceive as secure can become dangerous. In the midst of such chaos, what astounds me is the amazing spirit that humankind has to rebuild, to move forward, and to look through the debris to the future. We can see that spirit on the news when reporters interview residents of small towns who have been hit by a tornado. And I can feel that spirit beginning November 12, 2011 when I returned to the slype ten weeks after the earthquake. Fundraising has begun. The building is stabilized. Joe Alonso and his two stone carvers are hard at work. The Eucharist—a service of thanksgiving—has returned. Hope and faith abound.

More later.

1 For those of you who like accuracy–and I know that vergers do like accuracy–the time was 1:51:04.
2 Spall: To break up or reduce by or as if by chipping with a hammer (Merriam Webster)


Did you know that you can submit your own story about the verger ministry for possible inclusion in the Vergers Voice blog?

We are always looking for interesting topics, ideas, and creative ways of demonstrating the power and enjoyment of being part of the fellowship of the VGEC and our ministry of service.

If you have any ideas, or if you would like to take your turn at writing a post and sharing ideas, send them to [email protected]!



The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta is coming very soon on October 12th to October 15th. Registration is $275.00 per person. The deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations!




Abstract: The photo for this blog post tells an incredible story. One of calm, surprise, shock, movement, shaking, falling, danger, fear, and the slow path to recovery. David Deutsch, a volunteer verger, tells about the 2011 earthquake at Washington National Cathedral from his own experience of being there: before, during, and after. More later.

Friday, September 1, 2017

My First 100 Days: Reflections of a new Verger

Godfrey tries out the Verger's Stall at St. Luke's Montclair with friends onlooking

By Godfrey Gregg FVGEC, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Montclair, NJ - [email protected]

Easter Sunday, 2017 was a glorious day here in northern New Jersey. I awoke early, prayed, and prepared for my first verger experience. Prior to the start of the Great Vigil the night before, the rector had asked if I would like to verge tomorrow. Easter Sunday! My internal dialogue was, "Excuse me, what did you just ask me?" Following the Vigil, I grabbed a glass of champagne, approached the rector, and gave my reply, "Sure."

I am a life-long Episcopalian. At the age of ten I became a choirboy. Because choirboys received a monthly stipend, the parish (i.e. The Episcopal Church) was my first employer. I attended Episcopal Church schools, and like many of my generation I walked away from the church as I got older. Fortuitously, a couple of decades later, like the prodigal, I was welcomed home with open arms. I found a church that was inclusive and for twelve years I thrived in an Anglo Catholic experience. Following a move to New Jersey I was drawn to St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey in August 2010. After a year I joined the Healing Ministry.

The thought of becoming a verger occurred to me after two life altering events. First, in January, 2015, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and required surgery. I took a sabbatical from teaching, reflected on my new identity, and recommitted myself to living. In the fall of 2015, I returned to the Healing Ministry and celebrated my deliverance from illness. The second event, in April 2016, occurred while I sat vigil on Maundy Thursday into Good Friday. St. Luke's was completely dark except for one candle. Suddenly I became aware of not being alone. The eyes of the faithful departed were upon me. I had not experienced such an intense examination since defending my dissertation. I am not psychotic! To self soothe myself I recited Robert Herrick's Litany to the Holy Spirit, "In the hour of my distress, When temptations me oppress. And when I my sins confess. Sweet Spirit Comfort Me!" As I sat my thoughts were often on the vergers. Indeed I was seated near the verger's stall.

St. Luke's was established in 1860 and the present edifice consecrated in December 1892. The parish had its first verger in 1917, J. G. Chesterman, who was also sexton and carpenter. There is a virge handmade in 1918 by Mr. Chesterman. The most recent verger died in October 2013 and his death created a huge void and sorrow, and the verger's stall remained vacant until Easter 2017.

During the summer of 2016, I approached the rector regarding the verger position and over the next few months we discussed the role. My oldest friend, from choirboy days, is a verger in Atlanta. His advice was, "Don't do it alone. It's a lot of work and if not careful you can/will get burned out. Think a team of vergers..." My rector also had a verger team concept but life circumstances and waning interests reduced the team to just me. The rector continued to encourage me. I read everything available, researched YouTube, and found services from Westminster Abbey. The vergers.org website was a treasure trove.

I joined VGEC in the fall of 2016 and started the training course. Additionally, in February and May of 2017, the Diocese of Newark conducted training for vergers. I started to wonder when I would have my first verger experience...

April 16, 2017, I arrived at St. Luke's with a checklist in hand. Being a former flight attendant, I was accustomed to having a checklist and/or preflight and I suspect most vergers have something similar. Neither the rector nor I had informed anyone about the new verger. Consequently, when I arrived in the vesting room and began to vest - there was silence. And that's when it hit me: I was wearing the cassock and chimere of my predecessors (ironically we were all about the same size and build) and I was holding the virge made by Mr. Chesterman in 1918. Plus it was the 100th anniversary of the verger position at St. Luke's: 1917-2017.

At 9:50 am I took my place and prepared for the procession. Easter Sunday - standing room only - dear Lord deliver me. Although everything went well, I recall the sense of relief at the conclusion of the service. I could breathe once again.

As the 100th day of my being verger approaches, I have served on thirteen Sundays and for one funeral. There is so much to learn! I have made mistakes. There are always comments regarding the role: you've got big shoes to fill; are your comfortable in the role; why don't you smile, Godfrey; good to see the verger's robes being used again - you wear them with dignity. I have questioned my decision to accept the verger's mantle but I always arrive at the same conclusion: you are in the right place and you are fine.

I confess there are occasions on Sundays when my eyes swell with tears. To be in service to Spirit is indeed a calling - Grace. This Grace is most deeply felt as I spend time alone in the church. I go to the church and polish items: the font, the crosses, collection plates, and other jewels that have gone unnoticed. I have discovered inscriptions on crosses and pews in memory of the departed. As I polish these inscriptions I sense a connection to those who have come before me - the linage - and who have made contributions. The polishing is as a prayer - an Intercession. St. Luke's is a living museum and I have been chosen as curator. As verger I have the honor to serve both the living and the departed.

I enjoy research. Therefore I have spent numerous hours probing through the church archives. I have found cancelled checks from the late 19th century, photos of choirs, rectors, and vergers. And now I too am a part of this history.

Soon after Easter I asked the rector about ordering new verger robes. I have reverence and love for my predecessors as I occupy their stall and carry their virge. However, I did not wish to wear their robes. Although I will wear their black chimere and black cassock during Lent and for funerals, I chose a blue cassock and grey chimere with blue piping for regular use. I felt the need to make my own mark. Thus far the congregation has given approval. And yet, there are moments when I wonder if I have moved too fast? Did the desire for individuality inappropriately replace tradition?

Each new verger must find her or his own way. We must stumble and question. We must turn to more experienced vergers for guidance and comfort. We must maintain faith that the Lord will illuminate our paths. I am hungry to learn more. I am excited to meet others at the Atlanta conference. With faith I enter my next 100 days...


Did you know that you can submit your own story about the verger ministry for possible inclusion in the Vergers Voice blog?

We are always looking for interesting topics, ideas, and creative ways of demonstrating the power and enjoyment of being part of the fellowship of the VGEC and our ministry of service.

If you have any ideas, or if you would like to take your turn at writing a post and sharing ideas, send them to [email protected]!



The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta is coming very soon on October 12th to October 15th. Registration is $275.00 per person. The deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations!




Abstract: Recently, vergersvoice.org asked the members of the Vergers Guild to consider submitting ideas and manuscripts for the blog. This post was submitted by Godfrey Gregg, a new verger at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey. A busy man, he also recently completed the VGEC Training Course and is a Fellow of the Guild and will be recognized as a new Fellow of the Guild at the Annual Conference in Atlanta on October 14th. Read more about his journey to the verger ministry.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Church of England Guild of Vergers Turns 85

The CEGV was 25 years old when this photograph was taken on April 19, 1956

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]

I am reminded of the words penned by the [then] Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 2007 when the Church of England Guild of Vergers celebrated the Diamond Anniversary of formation:

Vergers are almost as much a part of the Great British Collective Unconscious as vicars. From Dickens' Edwin Drew through to Dad's Army, they are there, hovering (or hoovering) around the shrines of our imagination. Many of a certain generation in church life will have stories of the great and terrible vergers of the past. Stories of the punctuation of Evensong with the extremely audible reprimand to tourists "You can't come in 'ere, there's a service going on."

But now the stereotypes belong to the distant past. The best vergers have always been creative, even pastoral servants of the life of the churches they have cared for. More than ever these days, the verger's job will be some of the most crucial work of the Church in its reaching to and welcoming those on its margins. It is going to require huge gifts of stamina, imagination and spiritual steadiness. The Church of England is fortunate to have so many men and women gifted in these ways, who give themselves to ministry.

At the same time +John of Lincoln, one time Chaplain of the Exeter Branch, whose father was a verger and one time secretary of the Bristol Branch, wrote:

Vergers have been described as the Church's Cinderella Service - presumably with the Clergy as the Ugly Sisters. To a certain extent this is true. Vergers have turned discretion and unobtrusiveness into an art form. They ensure all is done decently and in order so that ministers can fulfil their roles effectively and people can worship undisturbed. It is a vital role which although often hidden, must not be taken for granted.

These statements were true ten years ago and perhaps more so these days in our 85th year, when we see some deterioration in our traditional diaconal role. Bishop John eludes to the sentiments in Acts 6 - individuals chosen to carry out essential supportive roles, whilst Their Graces paraphrase Ephesians 4 - the essence and importance of using differing God-given talents to propel that which primarily is the engine, the power house, which is the Church.

With potential changes within the leadership of our guild; chairman, chaplain, training officer, we thank God for those who have served us in these roles in the past and pray that new officers will lead us so that we can develop and at last, as vergers, go to the Ball.


Did you know that when you join the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church, you become an Associate Member of the Church of England Guild of Vergers?

If you would like more information, contact John at [email protected].

When the VGEC was founded in 1989, we had been an American Branch of the CEGV for about a year. A "Branch" for the CEGV is the same thing as a "Chapter" in the VGEC.



The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta is coming soon on October 12th to October 15th. Registrations made through Thursday, August 31, 2017 are $225.00 per person. Registrations made after August 31, 2017 are $275.00 per person. The deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations!


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice blog topics to [email protected] or submit your own manuscript for consideration.


Abstract: The Church of England Guild of Vergers recently celebrated their 85th anniversary. John Campbell, Overseas Liaison Officer of the Guild and Dean's Verger at Lincoln Cathedral explores the meaning of being a verger both then and now. His description might echo your own experience.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions About VGEC Membership

Several questions were asked about membership during the 2015 Annual Conference Business Meeting in St. Louis

By Cheryl Cantrall FVGEC, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Lakeland, Florida, VGEC Membership Chair, [email protected]

There have recently been various membership questions brought to the attention of the VGEC Membership Committee. We will attempt to answer a few of those questions.

I have moved, have a new phone number or changed parishes, so how do I update my information for the Vergers Guild?

Any personal information such as an address change, new phone number, fax number, work number, spouse/partner change can be updated quite easily by visiting the verger website at membership.vergers.org. You will first be asked to enter your email address and password. Don’t have or remember your password? No worries – Membership Management System will prompt you to access a new password. Once you are logged into MMS all your personal information will be there. MMS will allow you to update any of the information listed. After the information is changed you must select the submit button and MMS automatically updates the information and sends you an email showing the corrected information. If you forgot something or need to correct an error just repeat the process. If all else fails, email the information to [email protected] and we will help with the changes.

We have a new verger in our parish and we want to register them under our Parish Membership.

Have the new verger go to try.vergers.org and sign up for the "Free 6-month" trial membership. After they join as a trial member, please send an email to us at [email protected] and include their name in the email. After receipt of the information, their membership type will be updated to "Parish Membership" and their membership expiration date will be updated to match the parish's date of expiration.

We have vergers who are no longer vergers and we want them deleted off our parish roster.

We don't delete any records in MMS. We inactivate any person who no longer wishes to be a member of the guild or who is no longer a verger in a certain parish. Their name will stay on the parish roster but in an inactive status and are not updated when the parish membership is renewed. If you are removing a person who is no longer a verger it is helpful to give a reason, if possible, so we may track why someone is no longer active. Such reasons could be: moved, no longer interested, currently in school, etc. If you have a verger who is deceased and can provide a date of death they will be listed in the "Remembrance" section of our online Membership Directory. That directory is available at membership.vergers.org.

I tried to submit my dues and it rejected my credit card.

We occasionally have members who cannot get their credit card information in the system on the first try. Try a second time being sure to just use numbers (no dashes or spaces) and also that the number, expiration date, and security code are absolutely correct. If that does not work, you may contact us at [email protected] and we can process the card for you. Send membership an email stating MMS would not accept the credit card and include a good time to make contact with you.

I don’t trust online transactions and want to submit my dues via check.

Our site is very secure and uses PayPal for all secure credit card transactions. Using online transactions save the VGEC a considerable amount of time and effort required to collect funds using alternate methods. If you must use a check, make the check out to "Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church" and mail the check to VGEC, PO Box 280, Round Rock, TX 78680-0280. Regular renewal is $40, Parish renewal is $200 (for 5 or more members) and Retired (means retired from verging) or student memberships are $20, and LifeTime memberships are $500.

I want to take the Training Course for the VGEC or have other questions regarding training.

Questions regarding training should be directed to our Training Course Advisor, Duke DuTeil at [email protected]. Complete information on the course is available at vergers.org/training where the course may be easily purchased online for $65.

The VGEC Membership Committee hopes these tips are helpful. If you have more questions membership can be reached at [email protected].


The 2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta is coming soon on October 12th to October 15th. Registrations made through Thursday, August 31, 2017 are $225.00 per person. Registrations made after August 31, 2017 are $275.00 per person. The deadline to register is Monday, October 2, 2017. We cannot accept on-site registrations!


Editors note: Send ideas for Vergers Voice blog topics to [email protected] or submit your own manuscript for consideration.


Abstract: Many membership questions and situations can be addressed by using the Membership Management System (MMS). Here are suggestions from the Membership Committee for handling common problems.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Tales from the Slype, Part 3: Be Still, and Know That I Am God

David Deutsch directs the last TV show of his career on September 26, 2003, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

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

I began as a volunteer verger at 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 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. This is part 3 in the "Tales from the Slype Series:"

It is Tuesday, January 24, 2004, and the icy sleet begins around 3 pm. I am sitting in the slype at Washington National Cathedral preparing to lead the office of Evening Prayer. At 4 pm the phone rings. The assistant cathedral verger, Larry Keller, tells me that because of weather conditions the cathedral is closing, the doors will be locked, and the staff and volunteers are being sent home—well, not all the staff and volunteers. I am to stay and lead 5:30 Evening Prayer in Bethlehem Chapel on the lower level. I will be the sole verger, really, the sole anybody outside security, in Washington National Cathedral.

Soon security dims the lights in the nave. The cathedral becomes very quiet. Silent. I am utterly alone in that huge stone building. I experience an overwhelming sense of awe. I palpably feel the peace and stillness.

As 5:30 approaches, I realize how much my life has changed. Six months ago, I was the director of the live, network show, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Tonight is New Hampshire primary night. At this moment I would be on the air trying to make order out of chaos in a crowded tense control room. People would be yelling. I would call for graphics to be inserted, roll tapes into the show, and coordinate with camera operators at remote locations around the country. I keep up a steady stream of commands: “Ready New Hampshire. Going to Judy in New Hampshire. And take New Hampshire. <go Judy> Font in…and lose it stand-by 3 on Jim. Hold three. Take 3. Ready chroma-key. Take. Ready the precincts graphic. I need it. And…dissolve to graphics A…”

It is time. I walk into a silent Bethlehem Chapel. I open my Book of Common Prayer, look at the empty seats and begin. "O God, make speed to save us..."


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Abstract: David Deutsch, retired director of the PBS NewsHour and volunteer verger at Washington National Cathedral compares the pace of life in the control room with Evening Prayer in the quiet, peaceful, and empty Bethlehem Chapel on a cold, icy night in January.