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History of the Guild

(Editor's Note: Much of the material for this page comes from the online VGEC Archives at archives.vergers.org especially from the 1988 and 1989 sections)

The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church began as a small idea in the mid-1980's and has since grown into one of the major service organizations representing vergers in the United States and around the world.

In 1986, the only association of vergers that existed was the Church of England Guild of Vergers, also known as the CEGV and there were only a handful of CEGV members who lived in the United States. Some of those early members included:
  • Charles Agneau, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California
  • Bill Gleason, St. Georges, Nashville, Tennessee
  • David Jette, Trinity Church, New York, New York
  • Richard Perry, Cathedral of Saint Philip, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Raleigh Rollason, Trinity Cathedal, Miami, Florida
  • Kent Wingerson, Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas
In September 1988, John Campbell, the General Secretary of the CEGV came to Miami to attend the installation of five new vergers on the invitation of Trinity Cathedral Head Verger, Raleigh Rollason. Bill Gleason also attended that installation service. Discussions were held about a possible new branch of the CEGV in the United States and the potential of forming a new organization in the USA.

What began in 1988 in Miami continued with more telephone calls, requests, letters, questionnaires and discussions about an opportunity of meeting together. After months of development, a meeting was planned for November 28 through 30, 1989 which was also the The Feast Day of St. Andrew.

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Twenty-nine individuals from the United States and three from England arrived in Nashville for the first-ever meeting of vergers in the United States and the Inaugural Eucharist and Conference of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church. The English Vergers representing the Church of England Guild of Vergers were:
  • David Dorey, Dean's Verger, Westminster Abbey, London
  • Clive McCleester, Head Verger, Southwark Cathedral, London
  • Thomas Cameron, Canons' Verger, St. Paul's Cathedral, London
On Tuesday, November 28, 1989, the vergers arrived at St. George's for a day of organizational planning and meeting. This meeting became the founding of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church with a simple unanimous vote by the group present. Articles of Association and By-Laws were approved. A membership fee of $30.00 was established; and officers were elected. The first officers of the VGEC were:
  • William H. Gleason, President
  • David R. Jette, Vice President
  • Andrew J. Morgret, Secretary
  • Mark E Graham Treasurer
On Thursday, November 30, 1989, following the Eucharist, a group photo was taken starting a tradition of many annual photographs taken for years to come.

The founding members of the Guild, present at the 1989 Nashville, Tennessee conference were:
  • *Charles W. Agneau, Verger (Retired), Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
  • Robert L. Baxter, Verger, St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth, TX
  • Thomas Cameron, Canons' Verger, St Paul’s Cathedral, London, England
  • Wesley E. F. Dickmann, Sr, Head Verger, Guardian Angels, Lantana, FL
  • Gordon Dirkes, Verger, St. Alban’s, Auburndale, FL
  • *David Dorey, Dean's Verger, Westminster Abbey, London, England
  • William H. Gleason, Verger, St Georges, Nashville, TN
  • *Mark E. Graham, Verger, All Saints, Atlanta, GA
  • *Chester Hanson, Verger, St Paul's, Oakland, CA
  • Marcus Hitchcock, Verger, Resurrection, Franklin, TN
  • *Howard Hodgson, Verger, St. Peter's, Eggerstsville, NY
  • David R. Jette, Head Verger, Trinity – Wall St, New York, NY
  • *Karl B. Johnstone, Head Verger, All Saints, Phoenix, AZ
  • Robert J. Koppe, Verger, St. Bartholomew's, Atlanta, GA
  • Jack C. Kuster, Verger, St. Luke's, Lincolnton, NC
  • Lori Lamma, Verger, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
  • *Walter L.G. Mace, Verger, St. Dunstan's, Houston, TX
  • *James J. McCarthey, Verger, Grace Church, Trumball, CT
  • Clive McCleester, Head Verger, Southwark Cathedral, London, England
  • Matthew McClellan, Head Verger, St John's Cathedral, Knoxville, TN
  • Andrew J. Morgret, Verger, Calvary, Memphis, TN
  • Andrew Osborne, Verger/Sexton, St. John's Cathedral, Providence, RI
  • David J. D. Pelletier, Cathedral Verger, Cathedral St. John the Divine, New York, NY
  • *Raleigh Rollason, Cathedral & Dio. Verger, Trinity Cathedral, Miami, FL
  • Paul Shoemaker, Verger & Succentor, St. John's Cathedral, Albuquerque, NM
  • *William C. Stone, Cathedral Verger, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, IN
  • Dudley Swedberg, Sexton, St. Mark's Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN
  • *Victor A. Taber, Ceremonial Verger, St. John's Cathedral, Providence, RI
  • Cory C. Williams, Asst. Head Verger, St. Paul's Cathedral, Burlington, VT
  • John T. Williams, Verger & Master of Ceremonies, St. Michael & St. George, Clayton, MO
  • Kent Wingerson, Cathedral Verger, Grace Cathedral, Topeka, KS
  • Stephen Zarko, Verger, Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, MI
 * Deceased

Since 1989, the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church has become a leading organization for the support and preservation of the ministry of the verger with over 1,400 members world-wide.

More information about the formation of the VGEC may be found online at archives.vergers.org.