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].

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 VGEC Conference was a Success - No Alligator Injuries Reported

A total of Ninety three members and families of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church met in Lakeland, Florida to enjoy true southern hospitality, inspiring conference sessions, and great food. Conference hosts Cheryl Cantrall and Sid Glynn from All Saints Episcopal Church graciously gave all attendees an experience to long remember.

VGEC Board meeting on Thursday

The board met in a working session during the day on Thursday. Approved minutes of that meeting and all other board meetings are available HERE.

Margaret McLarty, President, Pat Allen, Vice-President, Bill White, Secretary, and Duke DuTeil, Treasurer. Scott Smith, Communication and Technology Officer, Cheryl Cantrall, Membership Secretary and Conference Host for 2012, Katherine Pendzuk, Training Course Registrar, and Chaplain, The Rev. Matthew T.L. Corkern. Fr. Matthew attended via a video hangout on an iPad.

Topics included reports from various working groups within the VGEC, a review of General Convention and a commitment to take part in 2015 and beyond, the establishment of a free 6-month introductory membership category, Burlington Ontario as the 2014 conference location, initial design of the new Training Course Virge, new guidelines for handling conference budgets, and the formation of annual conference and bylaws subcommittees.

Sessions and Workshops: Friday October 12, 2012

"The Guild Today – General Convention"

Margaret McLarty, VGEC President, reported on the including church and Verger roles. She mentioned that a committee sanctioned at the General Convention is now working on revisions to the size of the General Convention attendance due to current criteria for delegate selection. A video presentation of the highlights of General Convention was prepared and is available HERE. Her address is also presented HERE. Scott Smith, Communication and Technology Officer presented a brief overview of the "got vergers?" campaign for 2012 and the new "25 years of the Vergers Guild" for 2013. The presentation is available HERE.

"Verger 101 - Hands on for the new Verger" led by David Jette and Scott Smith

The Verger 101 workshop was specifically designed to support the new verger as they embark on this ministry. It was for those who have been vergers three years or less or first-time conference attendees and included topics such as:
  • What is meant by "Ministry of Service?" 
  • Soldiering On: Dealing with mistakes so no one notices 
  • Hands-On - Carrying the virge 
Highlights from Verger 101 is available from VergerTV HERE.

"Vergers in Transition" led by Pat Allen, Ed Metz and Fr. Al Jenkins

What do you do when it is time to not be a verger any more? This workshop answered that question and explored the various ways to deal with transition in the role of being a verger.

Lunch: The Right Rev. Greg Brewer, Keynote Speaker.

Bishop Brewer addressed survival of the Episcopal church in the 21st Century. He reminded us that God is a missionary God and to embrace that concept in your congregation. The complete presentation is available HERE.

"Making your own Eucharistic Bread" led by Duke DuTeil

Several vergers gathered around the electric mixer, flour, and ovens to learn about Duke's recipe for his honey wheat Eucharistic Bread. The bread was a tortilla recipe with several practical adaptations and, it does not crumble. Duke demonstrated how to use simple ingredients and common sense to make this great Eucharistic bread. The presentation is available HERE.

Business Meeting, Saturday October 13, 2012
The Guild Bylaws, were ratified as amended and are available HERE. Duke Duteil was re-elected for 2 year term as treasurer. Bill White was re-elected secretary for 2-year term. Minutes from this meeting will be approved and published at the 2013 meeting in Nashville.

Awards/ Recognition Dinner, Saturday Evening

Lone Palm Golf & Country Club. Certificates and verges for course completion. Three lifetime member certificates awarded.

Photos and Videos

Roger Van Duyn, the conference photographer, did good job of telling the story of the conference in his still photographs and video segments:

Online photo album:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Church of England Guild of Vergers Elects General Secretary

Stephen Stokes, General
Secretary of the CEGV
Stephen Stokes grew up watching his father and his grandfather perform verger duties, feeling a call to the clergy, but resolving that he never wanted to be a verger.

So how does a nice young man who has no interest in following in his father’s vocation get elected General Secretary to the Church of England Guild of Vergers (CEGV)?
He answers, “While working for customer services of a Gas supplier that was relocating I started looking for another job and saw an advert for Verger at Westminster Abbey,
London. It interested me and I applied and came in second. I think it was at this point I realized that this was my path and started travelling it.”

“My first position as Verger was at StMarylebone Parish Church in London, where I was a lone Verger.  I remember that I also came in second in that interview as well!! However, the person who was appointed was unable to accept the position and I was then offered the role. Which I happily accepted.“

“Looking back I think needed to come in second as I was beginning to get over-confident that the job was mine. Perhaps I needed a bit of humility. After three years I moved to be Verger of Romsey Abbey, Hampshire. Where I had a small team of volunteer Vergers, and then after three and a half years, I moved to be Chapel Clerk and Verger of St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge (part of Cambridge University), where I have been for now over five years and still love each day.”

“My initial training as a verger I suppose was my father and grandfather however I also spent time with Tom Cameron, then Canons Verger at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, who taught me about Vergering and how not to strangle yourself while Vergering clergy (he used the analogy that if you have a length of string tied to the end of your Verge and then to your clergy’s neck, this should then mean as you turn you should not wrap the string round your own neck).  I also went up and spent a week with James Armstrong, Head Verger of Carlisle Cathedral, where he taught me the general running (of a parish church) and day to day duties.”

“Aside from those, I have been trained by everyone within the Guild, whenever we meet up and exchange stories we all learn something new or something not to do!“

Stephen was planning to attend four “Branch” meetings across the Guild during his first term, in an effort to meet as many of the roughly 400 CEGV members as possible. His Branch meets four times annually, while the CEGV gathers three times a year at the Canterbury Province Festival, the York Province Rally and for the annual Training Conference. He says that the Festivals draw around 100 attendees each and the Training Conference has about 60 attendees.

Stephen’s father is currently verger at St Andrew’s, Enfield, London and his grandfather was Beadle of St Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham till his retirement then Verger of Birmingham Cathedral until his death.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vergers on Facebook: Check it Out

Have you visited the VGEC Facebook page? Go to http://facebook.com/vergerguild and give it a “Like,” then let everyone know what you are doing in your church or share a thought or photo.

Michael Sanchez, of Lake Oswego, Oregon recently answered VGEC Communications & Technology Officer, Scott Smith’s call for volunteers by taking responsibility for the VGEC Facebook page.

Michael, a music educator by training and vocation, became the verger at ChristEpiscopal Church in Lake Oswego after observing the vergers serving in the consecration service of The Rt. Rev. Michael J. Hanley, Bishop of Oregon.

Michael’s vision for using social media in the VGEC is one of creating an accessible social community for vergers and encouraging everyone to join a continuing conversation on and around our Christian liturgy. He sees his role only as a facilitator, saying that, “…the users are the real owners of the site.” He hopes that the page will appeal to vergers of all levels of experience.

We are encouraged to get on the page and play with the various components to see how they work. He reminds us that, “It is just software. You can’t break it.” So jump in and enjoy meeting and sharing with each other!”

The ideas Michael has for the page come from his collective experience with the many Facebook pages he currently visits in his professional life and from his experience as an educator and musician.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lakeland Preparing for the VGEC Annual Conference

Cheryl Cantrall, the VGEC Membership Secretary, says that sixty people have signed up so far to attend the 24th Annual VGEC Conference, beginning on October 11th 2012 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakeland Florida. This is where we share experiences and ideas, learn from each other, and celebrate our role as “Liturgical Logisticians” serving our rectors and congregations.

At this stage in the planning for the conference this is a great number of registrations. They are hoping to have over one hundred total conference attendees this year. Cheryl and Sid Glynn are putting on a “really great show” for us in October. Read on!!!

Thursday night, be prepared, if you dare, to try “gator wrestling” under the supervision of Tim Williams from Gatorland. It’s a simple strategy, grab the gator by the tail, pull it into the sand pit in the middle of the moat, straddle it like a horse (long pants advised), catch its mouth while shut and hold it there, then roll it over and lullaby it to sleep. Come on. You can do it! Worry not, the hospital is just a few blocks away. Upon your return from visiting the medics, the hospitality suite and Vergers Guild Shop will be open at the Terrace Hotel.

Friday, after Margaret McLarty’s President’s Report to the guild, there’s a workshop for you, from Verger 101, to baking your own Eucharistic bread, planning for parish security, developing a Liturgical Committee plan, or how one might meet a new priest who is unsure about the verger’s role in the parish liturgy.

At lunch we’ll welcome the Rt. Rev. Greg Brewer for our Keynote address. Later, we’ll travel by bus for award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine, at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa featuring their famous flamenco dance floor show.

Saturday, after learning about The Order of St. Luke and our annual business meeting, stroll through the city using the Lakeland Walking Map and later, make your way out to the Lone Palm Golf & Country Club for the awards banquet, tropical style.

Sunday morning, after vesting, the official conference group photograph will be made. Then we’ll get organized for the Procession of Vergers at the Choral Eucharist. After the service, farewell and best God’s Speed home to prepare for our Nashville Conference next year.

A few administrative details:
  • Those needing special diet should notify Cheryl Cantrall or Syd Glenn. 
  • No coconut bras on guys at the Saturday banquet, otherwise best tropical atire. 
  • Whether you are flying to Tampa or Orlando, the travel to Lakeland will take around 90 minutes whether by Super Shuttle or rental car. Tampa, generally has lighter traffic. 
  • Great deal at the conference hotel, $89 per night!!! 
  • Shout out to Bill Gleason and Scott Smith for overhaul of the Vergers Guild Shop. More on that later. 
Conference details: vergers.org/conference/2012

The Terrace Hotel, 329 East Main Street, Lakeland, FL 33801, 863.688.0800, terracehotel.com

Conference Chair - Cheryl Cantrall, [email protected] , 863.644.9806

Co-Chair and Registration Coordinator - Sid Glynn, [email protected] , 863.644.5170

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 2012 Indianapolis General Convention “Had Vergers”

Six members of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church were present at the 77th General Convention held July 5–12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Our booth was ably attended by Kate Pendzuk , Ed Metz, Danny Meadors, Margaret McLarty, Sid Glynn, and Pat Allen.

According to Pat, Kate walked off with the "Conference Booth Potentate" award. Kate said, "All I did" was put up and take down the booth..." Have you ever put up a booth at a national convention or trade show? That is some serious work. Go Kate!

The VGEC Communications Team prepared an overhead sign for the booth, declaring "got vergers?" The sign was a real attention-getter and drew a substantial number of delegates to the booth. Our bumper stickers were cloned from that sign.

Many convention delegates asked questions about the verger ministry. Our representatives fielded all sorts of questions, prompting good conversations about what a verger is and what typically are their responsibilities and duties. Quite a few vergers introduced themselves to those at the booth and indicated interest in joining the Guild.

Many verger "magic color changing" cups went home with delegates, who promised give the cups to their vergers and urge them to join the VGEC. Thanks to Margaret for the cups as they were the premium take-away at the convention.

Delegates who are vergers introducing themselves at the booth were Harriet Duff of St. Michael's & All Saints in Mission Kansas, Michael Cuticchi of Trinity Church in Indianapolis, and Bruce Garner of All Saints in Atlanta, among many others. Every Episcopalian should think about attend the General Convention at least once.

We all should be well informed on how the church is organized and how it functions, and General Convention is a great chance to learn.

Contact Margaret McLarty at [email protected] about helping with General Convention in Utah in 2015!

A video presentation of the highlights of General Convention was prepared and is available HERE. Margaret's address to the 2012 VGEC annual conference about General Convention is also presented HERE.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The VGEC Communications Committee Needs You!

Throughout the year, the Communications Committee of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church works hard to keep the communication mechanism flowing for the VGEC.

We are looking for people with good layout, writing, or technical skills to help produce and maintain some of our materials. Specifically, we are looking for volunteers to help with the following roles:

vergers.org content editor
vergers.org/news News & Annoucements manager
V-Happenings (email newsletter) manager
The Vergers Voice (printed newsletter) manager
Yearbook manager
membership.vergers.org technical manager and developer
The Vergers' Guild Shop online store content manager

Many of these jobs can combined as needed. The main qualification for volunteering is that you love the VGEC and you want to role up your sleeves to help with a lot of work!

If you would like to help in any way, please contact Scott Smith, Communication and Technology Officer, at[email protected].

Saturday, June 9, 2012

General Convention #1 Question: got vergers?

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church will gather the first week of July in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church will be there! From Tuesday, July 3, 2012 until Tuesday, July 10, 2012 the VGEC will welcome visitors to General Convention in booth #713 in the Exhibit Area in the Indianapolis Convention Center.

The Vergers’ Guild message for the the convention is one simple question: “got vergers?” For many Episcopal parishes around the country, the answer to this question is, “yes!” Others may want to learn more about the ministry of verger and how vergers are serving an active role in the Episcopal Church in the 21st century.

The VGEC will also be sponsoring the “Verger Olympics” which is part of the “Indianapolis Experience” at Indianapolis Victory Field (directly across from the JW Marriott and Indianapolis Convention Center) on Sunday, July 8, from noon to 4 p.m.

“We are all really looking forward to General Convention this year as it should be a great opportunity to share exciting news about what is going on with vergers across the country,” said Pat Allen, Vice President of the Vergers’ Guild. “We will also need help from all vergers to staff the booth, hand out literature, talk with visitors, and help with the Verger Olympics.”

Anyone interested in helping with the booth should contact Kate Pendzuk at [email protected] who will be coordinating the booth staffing schedules. The Verger Olympics will be organized by Pat Allen at [email protected].

General Convention Exhibit Schedule

Mon, July 2, 8am-5pm, booth setup
Tue, July 3, 8am-10am, booth setup
Tue, July 3, 12noon-5pm, exhibits open
Wed, July 4, 9am-5pm
Thu, July 5, 11am-7pm
Fri, July 6, 11am-6pm
Sat, July 7, 10am-6pm
Sun, July 8, 11:30am-6pm (Verger Olympics in the afternoon)
Mon, July 9, 11am-6pm
Tue, July 10, 8am-2pm, exhibits close
Tue, July 10, 2pm-7pm, booth take down
Wed, July 11, 8am-4:30pm, booth take down (if needed)

got vergers? Merchandise

The VGEC offers a complete line of got vergers? merchandise at the Vergers' Guild Shop online store.

24th Annual VGEC Annual Conference in Lakeland, FL

The Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church will gather for their 24th Annual Conference on Thursday, October 11th through Sunday, October 14th at All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakeland, Florida.

Each year, approximately one hundred vergers come together for a weekend of fellowship, training, business, and worship. This year’s conference is being coordinated by Cheryl Cantrall who is also the VGEC Membership Secretary and Sid Glynn, Master Verger at All Saints.

“Our goal for this year’s conference was to include a lot of fun with our workshops that will provide some serious verger-related training and discussion,” said Cheryl. “We are also very pleased that the conference hotel, The Terrace Hotel, is so nice, reasonably priced, and right next to the church campus.”

The workshops available at this year’s conference are:

Verger 101 - Hands on for the new Verger: Designed to support the new verger as he or she embarks on this ministry. Hands on demonstrations and discussion.

Vergers in Transition: Discussion about the position of Verger not necessarily being a lifetime appointment. How to deal with change in the verger ministry.

Security in your Parish - Do you have a plan? Many people believe that security does not belong in the church. Many vergers maintain that is does.

Developing a Worship Council/Liturgical Committee: Led by Suzanne Gaines, All Saints' Episcopal Church.

Making your own Eucharistic Bread: This year at the Vergers' Guild Annual Conference Duke DuTeil, head verger at the Washington National Cathedral, will lead a discussion about different bread for the Eucharist. Hands on demo of making honey whole wheat Eucharistic bread.

Order of Saint Luke (OSL) Healing Ministry: Led by the Rev. Richard Hoover.

Events for the conference include an opening Evensong at the church Thursday evening followed by a dinner with entertainment by Tim Williams dean of gator wrestling at Gatorland, Friday lunch with keynote speaker the Right Rev. Greg Brewer, and an afternoon tour of the Annie Pfeifer Chapel and Church. Friday evening continues with dinner and floor show at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City followed by the Saturday evening reception, dinner and awards ceremony at the Lone Palm Golf and Country Club.

The Vergers’ Guild Shop hospitality suite will be in operation again this year demonstrating all of the items available in the shop, including the new virge and chimere in the processional gear department, as well as all of the training course materials that were received for recognition at the conference.

Registrations on or before September 10, 2012 are $200.00 per person. Registrations after September 10th are $225.00 per person. Conference registration is available online through the Vergers’ Guild Shoppe Online Store using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Online registration is the easiest method of registration for the conference. The vergers.org web site also has a manual registration form available.

If you need help, please contact Sid Glynn, event co-chair and registration coordinator, at [email protected] or call 863.644.5170.

Complete information about the conference is available at vergers.org/conference/2012.

New 2012 Edition of the VGEC Training Course is Released

The Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church has released the 2012 edition of “A Course of Training for the Verger.” This is the first major revision of the course since the original edition was published in 1996. Among the changes is a new section entitled, “Getting to know the VGEC” that takes course participants on a tour of the resources and programs available to members of the Vergers‘ Guild. Another new section, “Outline for Course Completion and Submission” was added to help course participants through the process of completing their course materials for review at the end of their course.

The 2012 edition took many months to complete and began in early 2011 with a comprehensive course review with recommended updates by VGEC Training Mentor, Walt Kindergan. The VGEC Board approved those recommendations at their meeting in October, 2011 and began the process of updating the course. The changes went through multiple revisions and review by members of the Board, clergy, and academics.

According to Margaret McLarty, President of the VGEC, “The Vergers’ Guild Training Course is helping us fulfill our mission to effectively train and educate those who take part in the ministry of verger. We have long wanted to update the course to keep it current with the state of the ministry and our membership. I am pleased that we have been able to release this new version with additional content, improved writing and layout, and clearer instructions for putting the course submissions together for course completion.”

The basic course outline and content remains consistent with the original version. Additional improvements include an updated style consistent with current VGEC publications, a tribute to Mark Emery Graham, the original course author, improved table of contents, an outline for course completion and submission, and an updated suggested reading list including detailed publishing information.

VGEC Training Course Registrar Kate Pendzuk added, “Although the course remains very much consistent with the original content, this new edition represents significant work from a number of people which has resulted in a course that is easier to use and understand than before. We have over 350 courses in use and we do not recommend that everyone upgrade to the new course unless they want to.”

Because the course content remains the same as the prior version, those who are currently working on their course are asked to continue with that version. Course participants who wish to receive a new electronic version of the course are asked to contact Kate at [email protected] or 914.523.8464 for details.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vergers' Guild Board Gathers in March and April of 2012

Meeting in Summit, New Jersey were
(left to right) Margaret McLarty, Cheryl Cantrall,
the Rev. Matthew Corkern, Pat Allen, David Jette,
Scott Smith, Duke DuTeil, Kate Pendzuk,
and Bill Gleason (not pictured: Bill White)
In March, several members of the VGEC board met in Lakeland, Florida at All Saint's Episcopal Church, the site of the upcoming24th Annual Conference this October. The purpose of this meeting was to tour and explore the church, hotel, and the region. Conference co-chairs Cheryl Cantralland Sid Glynn were hosts for this gathering and facilitated several discussions about workshops, sessions, events, and excursions that will all be part of the conference.

"This year's event will focus on learning, exploring, and having fun, and we still have a few surprises that we are working out to make this year's conference really great," said Cheryl. She continued, "Sid and I are really excited to be welcoming vergers from around the country, Canada, England, and all over," 

Pat Allen, VGEC vice president and conference coordinator added, "The conference hotel, located one block from the beautiful and newly expanded church, will be a wonderful place to relax, reflect on our ministry, and to join in fellowship with all who come this year."

In April, the board gathered for their mid-year meeting in Summit, New Jersey, the site of the Rev. Matthew Corkern's installation as 13th Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church. Fr. Matthew was named Guild Chaplain at the 2011 annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to President Margaret McLarty, "Summit was a wonderful opportunity for the Guild to show support of our new Chaplain by assisting in the planning and implementation of the liturgy. The board was joined by vergers from the parish, the Diocese of Newark and the region in celebration of this new ministry for the community."

The Service of Installation occurred on Saturday, April 21st at 4pm. The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Bishop of Newark was celebrant and the Very Rev. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, delivered the sermon.

"It was such a joy to have family and friends, long-time associates, clergy, and vergers from around the country and world gather in Summit for this occasion," said Fr. Matthew.  "I sincerely appreciate the help provided by the vergers who were present in making this day a remarkably memorable event for me, the parish, and the community."

Click HERE for the online photo album of the event.

Click HERE for a six minute video/photo YouTube movie of the event.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

got vergers?

The Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church has launched a new campaign called "got vergers?" for 2012.

"got vergers?" is a simple question that might help to explain the phenomenal growth that the Vergers' Guild has experienced in its twenty-four year history. Last year, the organization passed the one thousand member mark.

"We continue to see enthusiasm and support from parishes and clergy across the country who have discovered how vergers help organize and facilitate worship activities in the Episcopal Church," said Margaret McLarty, President of the Guild. "The answer to this question increasingly is YES! When otherwise, we try to communicate more about our exciting and vibrant ministry and how we might be of service."

"got vergers?" will also be the resounding theme of the Verger's Guild presence at General Convention in July 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Join us at booth #713 in the Convention Center Exhibit Hall.

The Vergers' Guild Shop has also launched a new "got vergers?" department with bumper stickers and shirts to help spread the word about the ministry of the verger.

See vergers.org and facebook.com/vergerguild for more information on the campaign.

New Chimere and Virge Available at the Vergers’ Guild Shop

The Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church has introduced two new items in the "Processional Gear" department: The Verger’s Chimere and The Basic Virge. The goal of both was to offer products of high quality at an affordable price that would assist beginning vergers to acquire items when starting their ministry.

The VGEC partnered with CM Almy to design the new chimere. Based on the classic chimere design that has been in use for centuries, the new chimere has been updated with lightweight, wrinkle-proof fabric and cotton velvet trim. The chimere is available in black or grey with black trim for $125 while a VGEC seal may be purchased for an additional $25 which will be sewn on the chimere prior to shipment.

According to Bill Gleason, Manager of the Vergers' Guild Shop, "We have been working on this for a long time and we are really pleased to offer the new chimere to our membership and especially to vergers who are new to our unique ministry. Each chimere is made-to-order in a wide range of sizes for men and women." Initial orders for the chimere require up to eight weeks for delivery. As Almy ramps up production, shipment times will improve.

Stephen Fendler, President of CM Almy, added, "We have been very pleased to work with VGEC to create this chimere and the process has gone very well. We are delighted to be partnering with the Guild in providing this new service to the Church."

The VGEC has also worked to develop and produce a complementary product called, "The Basic Virge." This new simple and durable virge is custom-made from dark mahogany wood and comes with a Canterbury-cross finial and engraved brass end cap. The Basic Virge also sells for $125 and is available for immediate delivery from the Guild Shop.

"The mission of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church is to support vergers and spread our ministry of service and welcome throughout the church. We are called to equip new the verger with the tools and resources that they need to become effective servants in their parish. The new chimere and virge are two great examples of how we are living into this mission," said Margaret McLarty, verger at St. Andrews Cathedral in Jackson, Mississippi and President of the VGEC.

Both items are available for order today at the Vergers’ Guild Shop online store at vergers.org/shop.