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].

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get to know the VGEC Membership System

by Eileen Brightwell-Hicks
Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown, Texas

You only need three things to renew your membership online or to upload your photo:

  • a computer with internet access
  • a digital headshot of you
  • your password

You will find using the VGEC automated membership system at membership.vergers.org is easier than writing a customary!

Of our 1,350 active members, we have 650 who have uploaded photos. Your photo should be a head shot of you (not a group shot) and it should be close enough to see facial details. You can be in your verger regalia or in street clothes. More than 65% of our head shots are NOT in verger robes. Your photo should be a maximum size of 5 MB (600 pixels wide x 600 pixels high, 40K in JPEG format is ideal). Any point-and-shoot digital camera or cell phone will take a correctly-sized picture. Think of a high school yearbook picture: but this time you get to pick the day and the picture you want!

To get started, go to membership.vergers.org in any internet browser. You can also find this on the vergers.org home page. Click on the blue bar close to the top of the page that says, "Renew Membership or Upload Photo."

That will open the login screen entitled shown to the right. Enter your email address and password.  If you have forgotten your password or never knew your VGEC password, click on the "I forgot" link for instant help.You can also contact [email protected] for help at any time.

Once you successfully login, you will see a welcome page with your name on it.  Read this page, especially the second paragraph.

Click on the blue underlined phrase that describes what you want to do next. There are also a series of tabs at the top that allow you to go to different panels of information.

Note in the third paragraph your ability to access your membership certificate and the VGEC Yearbook as well as a link to search the VGEC membership.  For this example we are going to click on the "upload your yearbook photo" in the second paragraph.

This will open the "my information" page.  Here you can review your personal information on file with the VGEC, correct or change any information as needed, and upload your head shot photo in the upper right-hand corner.

You will either see a link, "Upload my photo" or "Replace my photo" - just click on that phrase and a pop up window will appear with the previously discussed suggestions about proper head shots.

At the bottom will be a place for you to select your head shot and then upload it to the VGEC server. It happens quickly and you will see the photo appear on your membership information page. You will also receive an email from [email protected] confirming the upload.

Take a few minutes to get to know the VGEC Membership Management System. Everything that we have on file for your membership is available for you to access here. One of my favorites is the "Search Membership" tab that is especially interesting when I am traveling. Note also that you can specify your VGEC Annual Conference preferences as well.

Thank you for taking the time to help all of us get to know you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Author Staying at the Scarritt Bennett Center near Vanderbilt University

Dating from 1924, The Scarritt Bennett Center
near Vanderbilt University was once
the Scarritt College for Christian Workers
By Ken Holloway, VGEC News Manager
[email protected]

I am looking forward to my accommodations at the Scarritt Bennett Center while attending the 25th Annual VGEC Celebration Conference in October.

Mr. Henry Hibbs, a Nashville architect, won national awards for his work on these buildings, which are a modified Collegiate Gothic style. The buildings were constructed from colored Crab Orchard (Tennessee rubble) stone, which was quarried in East Tennessee, and the casement windows of the original structures were imported from England.

It's current orientation, since the school closed in 1988, is as a non-profit education, retreat and conference center with a strong commitment to promoting racial equality, cross-cultural understanding, the empowerment of women and spiritual renewal.

A serene setting with long-term Christian missionary history, housed in Gothic architecture, it is sure to bless us with peace at day's end. At $50.00 + tax per night, how could one resist?

Contact [email protected] if you have any additional questions about the conference or the Scarritt-Bennett Center accommodations.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Archives for the Vergers Guild now Open

It is true that the Communication Committee of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church has been busy this summer! We have recently launched a new archival web site at archives.vergers.org with a large number of historical artifacts that document the history of the VGEC.

The archives are segmented by year from 1988 when the VGEC was a fledgling branch of the Church of England Guild of Vergers to its founding as an independent organization in 1989. Our intent is to use this platform to maintain all of the documents of the VGEC moving forward.

One highlight for those vergers who have been around since 1989 is the scrapbook from the first year of the VGEC. That is located in the 1989 section located at http://archives.vergers.org/1989 under the "Scrapbooks" category.

Take a look, and let us know what you think!

Ordination in Oregon: What's a Verger to do?

On July 6th, 2013, VGEC member and VGEC Facebook page manager Michael Sanchez participated in the "Ordination of Sean Scott Wall to the Sacred Order of Deacons" at Christ Church in Lake Oswego, Oregon (just outside of Portland). Bishop Michael J. Hanley presided over the event.

"This was the first time I've been so involved with an ordination," Michael tells us. In the past, he's helped with providing music or simply came to support the ordinand. This time, Michael had a large role to play: Sean (the ordinand) asked him to be master of ceremonies.

"We had a staff meeting at the church, and I sat down with Sean and the interim rector, and we looked over the service bulletin. At the outset, I knew I had two big challenges: we have a small chancel and there were a lot of people that needed to be seated. Also, with the visiting clergy, this was by far the largest processional/recessional that I've ever had to manage!"

After meeting with Sean and the Interim, Michael set out to work, drawing maps, diagrams, and making out seating cards. The day before the ordination, he came to the church and made signage for visiting clergy dressing areas, marked off pews, and made a small packet of the aforementioned diagrams, maps, and seating arrangements: one for him and one for the Interim.

"The day of the ordination was a lesson in flexibility," Michael laughs. "Of course, when you plan something out, you always have to remember that the presider or celebrant - in this case, the Bishop - will have the final say, so you can't get too attached to your master plan."

"We met at 12:30 p.m. so we could have plenty of time to rehearse and iron out any issues by the 2:00 p.m. start of the service." At the rehearsal, Michael took notes and asked questions of the Bishop. After the rehearsal, he made final preparations for the service and then ran to participate in the final part of the choir rehearsal.

For this event, Michael made a small change to the start of the service. "Normally, we gather 5 minutes before the start of the service, but I wanted folks to be in place 10 minutes prior, and it was worth it! It's a lot of people to assemble, and those things just take more time with larger groups."

Once the opening hymn started and they started the procession, "The service went like clockwork!" Michael says. The rehearsal really helped get the participants focused, and there was very little Michael had to worry about.

"One of the most gratifying things about the whole service - apart from seeing it go so smoothly - happened during the reception. One of the visiting clergy from a neighboring parish complimented me on what a good I did organizing," Michael recalls. "Hearing that from a clergy member outside of our parish really made me feel good about the work that I did and continue to do at my home church."

So what is Michael's advice for vergers organizing an ordination? "Be flexible, be patient, and be early!"

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vergers Guild Communication Committee is Growing!

The Communication and Technology Committee of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church  is an active group of volunteers who are working to get the word out around the world about the verger ministry!

Numerous key positions remain open:
  • Google Drive Manager
  • Photo Manager
  • Technology Manager
  • Twitter Manager
  • V-Happenings Manager
  • Website Manager
  • Yearbook Manager
See vergers.org/about/guildleadership/committees/communication-and-technology for more information.

The current committee members are:

Eileen Brightwell Hicks
Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown, Texas
Content Editor and Verger Document Library Manager

Michael Sanchez
Christ Episcopal Church, Lake Oswego, Oregon

Facebook Manager

Kenneth A. Holloway
St. Richards Episcopal Church, Round Rock, Texas

News Manager

Mike Malone
Church of the Holy Cross, Poplar Bluff, Missouri

V-List Manager

Scott Smith
Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tennessee
Acting Web Site and V-Happenings Manager