On Being A Verger
So, what exactly is a Verger?
Historically Vergers cared for the church, its furnishings, preparations for liturgy and the conduct of the laity. Early Christian sources document the existence of Vergers before the 11th century. The symbol of the office is a rod, or “virge” (Latin) used to move people and animals out of the path of the religious procession. Today Verger’s ceremonially escort liturgical participants in the church and work behind the scenes planning liturgy, shepherding clergy, and stepping in when things go awry.
The former Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, joked with me when I met him in London recently that “Vergers are the Border Collies of the Church.” Vergers also have a mission of hospitality; greeting visitors and helping to integrate newcomers into the parish family.
When Leslie and I came to Trinity, I prayed to the Lord to direct me toward a calling. I was drawn to the Scripture “Each of you should use whatever gift you’ve received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 4:10-11.
The Verger’s Guild of the Episcopal Church offers a diploma course for the office. I approached Fr. Matt, with the idea of Trinity having a Verger. He was welcoming, prayerful, and embraced the idea. The course requires that the Rector mentor of the candidate. Fr. Matt accepted and I began my studies in January 2021 finishing in October and becoming a Fellow of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church on October 25, 2021.
I am blessed by the reception that you have shown me and thankful to serve our Lord, clergy, and parish as a servant. A job description outlines my responsibilities for services. Since I began my role, I’ve found that it mostly it boils down to; “other duties as assigned.”