Welcome to The Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church. Also known as the VGEC, we support our members through education, service and fellowship.
Vergers serve the church in a ministry of welcome. Often a visitor to a new parish church will see the verger in a simple cassock moving about the church preparing for worship. The verger is able to respond to any inquiry concerning the upcoming service, church facilities or current program offerings. Among other duties, the verger's logistical support allows the clergy more time for pastoral and sacramental responsibilities.
We often say that every parish has a verger whether they are identified as such! Many of the typical verger duties include assigning, training and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes and prayer intercessors. The verger coordinates with the altar guild and funeral guilds and in some parishes the verger also checks lighting and operates the sound. Indeed, the verger often is nothing more than a stage manager behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly during the liturgy. All of the verger's duties are specific to the church in which they serve and can evolve through many years under the direction of the rector.
Some parishes have a verger or vergers at all liturgies and others only on festival and feast days like Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints'. Especially helpful with visiting clergy or special services, the verger checks on additional seating, hospitality and welcoming newcomers. In most parishes, either small or large, the clergy who incorporates the verger position will wonder why it was not done earlier!
Among the many resources available to all vergers at vergers.org, the Guild offers a comprehensive self-study training course that is designed to train the verger and broaden their experience in the ministry. Even for the experienced lay minister, the course can be helpful in forming the verger's understanding of how best to support the worship of the parish as prescribed by the rector.
One is not required to take the course to be a member of the Guild, however doing so results in being awarded a Certificate of Completion. A course graduate is also recognized as a Fellow in the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church.
Since its founding in 1989 the Guild has held its annual conference in many different and exciting locations. The gathering includes the Annual Meeting, workshops on liturgy, worship, touring local churches, sightseeing, and fellowship. These times together are invaluable in building strong bonds of friendship and support. The Guild also fosters the formation of diocesan chapters which are quite popular as well.
If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us and we will be happy to help.