2011 Cleveland, Ohio

The 23rd Annual Conference of the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church

September 29 through October 2, 2011

The Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church gathered for the 2011 annual conference on Thursday September 29th through Sunday October 2nd at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio.

This was a great opportunity for 79 members of the Guild to come together for fellowship, training, business, and worship. We were hosted and coordinated this year by Cathedral Verger Emeritus Ed Metz and the whole group of Vergers from Trinity Cathedral.

This page is the central location for all information related to the 2011 conference.

Conference Downloads and Links of Interest

Upload your Conference Photos

We already have several photos from the conference uploaded into the 2011 Conference Online Photo Album and many of those have been selected for the conference slideshow above.

We would REALLY like for everyone to help us make this collection of photos as complete as possible. There are a few easy ways to make your photos available by either uploading them to the album or by shipping a CD or DVD with your photos to us.

Instructions for uploading your photos are located HERE.

Official VGEC Conference 2011 Photograph

This image is suitable for generating high quality prints. Click on the image below and you will have several options.

23rd National Eucharist & Conference Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church - October 2011 - Trinity Cathedral - Cleveland, OH USA

Sessions and Workshops

Verger 101
Video coming soon

The Dean's Forum - Interview with the Vergers
Audio Recording coming soon

Other Conference Links

Basic Conference Information

Ed Metz is the 2011 conference Chair


Thursday September 29 through Sunday October 2, 2011

Host Parish

Trinity Cathedral
2230 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2405
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/trinitycleveland
Twitter: @trinitycleve

Event Chair

Ed Metz, Cathedral Verger Emeritus
[email protected]

Event Co-Chair and Registration Coordinator

Pat Metz
[email protected]

Conference Schedule

Many opportunities for exploring Cleveland, Ohio during the Conference

Click HERE to download the final conference schedule.

Thursday September 29, 2011

12:00pm – 5:00pm: Hotel check-in and Conference registration. Hospitality Suite and Vergers' Guild Shop open
6:00pm – 6:50pm: Choral Evensong at Trinity Cathedral
6:50pm – 7:20pm: Slideshow Presentation by Head Verger Duke DuTeil of damage to National Cathedral caused by recent earthquake
7:20pm – 8:20pm: Dinner in Cathedral Hall
8:20pm – 8:30pm: Welcome by President Margaret McLarty in Cathedral Hall
8:45pm – 10:30pm: Hospitality Suite and the Vergers' Guild Shop at the Hotel

Friday September 30, 2011

Breakfast on your own
7:45am – 8:30am Gathering at Trinity Cathedral  with lite refreshments
8:30am – 9:30am Morning Holy Eucharist, Trinity Cathedral
9:30am – 10:00am Break
10:00am – 11:00am Workshop: Verger 101
10:00am – 11:00am Cathedral Tours for those not taking Verger 101
11:00am – 12:30am Interactive Session on Greening your Parish
12:30pm – 1:30pm Luncheon in Cathedral Hall
1:30pm – 5:45pm Excursions: Optional tours of Cleveland for any not attending conference sessions
1:30pm – 2:50pm Workshop: Vergers and the Internet
1:30pm – 2:50pm Group Discussion: Recruiting New Lay Ministers
2:50pm – 4:20pm Group Discussion: Vergers and Special Services
4:20pm – 5:45pm Workshop: Recycling and Upcycling
4:20pm – 5:45pm Group Discussion: Vergers and the Ministry of Hospitality
5:45pm – 7:30pm Dean’s Reception in the Piazza 
9:00pm - 9:30pm Board the Goodtime III for Dance Cruise on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River
9:30pm - 11:30pm Dance Cruise in the Goodtime III

Saturday October 1, 2011

Breakfast on your own
8:30am – 9:15am Morning Prayer at Renaissance Hotel
9:15am – 10:30am Business Meeting of VGEC Membership at Renaissance Hotel
10:30am – Photos for VGEC Web Site and Membership Directory at Renaissance Hotel
Afternoon Free Time Excursions: Optional Tours of Cleveland
6:00pm – 7:00pm Reception in the Cathedral Hall
7:00pm – 10:00pm Medieval Feast and Vergers’ Recognition, in the Nave
10:00pm – 12:00am: Hospitality Suite and the Vergers' Guild Shop at Hotel

Sunday October 2, 2011

Breakfast on your own
9:00am – 10:00am Gathering at Trinity Cathedral  with lite refreshments
9:00am – 10:00am Optional Jazz Mass in the Nave
9:30am – 10:00am Vesting in the Gallery
10:00am – 10:50am Dean's Forum: Interview with the Vergers
11:00am – Prepare for Procession and Holy Eucharist
11:15am – Choral Eucharist and Procession of Vergers (no virges, no hats)
12:45pm – Official Conference Photo on steps of Trinity Cathedral

Sessions, Workshops and Events

A workshop at the 2010 VGEC Conference in Washington, DC

This year’s conference has a variety of very interesting workshops, sessions, and events which will contribute to your conference experience. The following is a preliminary list of some of the events that will be on the agenda.

This list will be evolving right up to the conference so be sure to check this site for the latest information available.

Friday Workshop: Verger 101: Hands on for the new Verger

The Verger 101 workshop is specifically designed to support the new verger as he or she embarks on this ministry. It is designed for those who have been vergers three years or less or first-time conference attendees. Topics will include:

  • I thought being a Verger was all about wearing robes, holding virges, and processing through the nave...
  • What is meant by "Ministry of Service?"
  • Soldiering On: Dealing with mistakes so no one notices
  • Hands-On - Carrying the virge, what to wear when, serving in the background, working with your Altar Guild, volunteer coordination, being the boss/servant at the same time
  • Is the VGEC Training Course for me?
This session will be led by David Jette, VGEC President Emeritus from Trinity Wall Street in New York and Walt Kindergan, Training Course Mentor, from Christ Episcopal Church, Pensacola, Florida.

Tours of Trinity Cathedral

This tour will be in two groups giving everyone a chance to see close up the beauty and treasures of this century old cathedral, as well as the wonders of the new green features of the building and worship space.

Lead by Martha and Wayne Bifano, Head Docents.

Tour of the Windows of Trinity

An up-close tour of the Stain Glass at Trinity Cathedral and how the Stain Glass of many other churches and chapels make up the beauty that is this Cathedral.

Lead by Professor Michael Well of CSU and Verger Trinity Cathedral.

Musical Tour and Discussion of the Cathedral Music Ministry and Instruments

An up-close tour of the various instruments of music at Trinity Cathedral including two Dutch mechanical action organs by Flentrop, a Flemish harpsichord, and a 1912 Steinway grand piano.

The tour will include the unique Cathedral choir rehearsal area and a discussion of how vergers can work well together with organists and musicians.

Lead by Todd Wilson, Trinity Director og Music and Worship.

Interactive Discussion: Greening Your Parish
Friday 11:00am - 12:20pm 

Following the verger’s role to encourage vital ministries in the parish, you are invited to an interactive session on how you can ‘green’ your parish.  Following a brief overview of Trinity Cathedral’s Sustainability Strategic Plan, you will rotate to a number of activity centers that will focus on 
  • Dumpster Diving! or how to reduce your waste, 
  • Compost It! or how to put your garbage to use,   
  • Lights On/Off! or energy reduction and lowering your carbon footprint,
  • Get it Clean! or maintenance with green products
  • Preach It & Teach It! or on-going education in your parish. 
Rich Horton and members of the Trinity Green Team will lead this fun and informative session. 

Friday Workshop: Recruiting new Lay Ministers

The Ministry of the Laity - the ministry that keep the church alive! Who is a Lay Minister? Acolyte, Lay Reader, Chalice Bearer (LEM), Usher, Greeter, Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Wedding Guild, Funeral Guild, Sexton, Verger ?
  • How can you spot a new prospect in your Parish?  
  • What are the best methods to train new Lay Ministers? 
  • How long should someone serve - making room for new volunteers? 
  • Acolytes: What age? 6, 8, 10, teen, adult?
  • Lectors: Can anyone just get up there and read? Do I need training?
  • Chalice Bearers/Lay Eucharistic Ministers: Do I really need that License? How do you serve the chalice? Is there a right way or a wrong way?
  • Usher/Greeter: THE Ministry of Welcome. How do I make the visitor feel welcome?
  • Altar Guild: How do I get involved? I don't know anything about the Altar and how to set it up?
  • Sexton: Today, am I the glorified janitor?
  • Verger: What do I need to know? What does a Verger REALLY do? How to I relate to other lay ministers?
This is a facilitated group discussion led by Bill Gleason, VGEC President Emeritus from Church of the Resurrection in Franklin, Tennessee.

Friday Workshop: Technology and the Verger Ministry

Texting, Web sites, FaceBook, & Twitter; oh my! A presentation of how the VGEC is using technology to support the Guild’s activities and how we might use similar technology in our own parish ministries as Vergers.

Topics include information on how to:
  • better communicate with my Rector, volunteers, parish?
  • start building a customary slowly using free web resources
  • better acolyte training the way kids want to learn - online, easy and free
  • contribute to the VGEC document library to share materials
  • use resources on vergers.org to help my own verger ministry
Led by Scott Smith from Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tennessee, VGEC Communication and Technology Officer

Friday Workshop: The Verger and Special Services

What do you do with flags in a procession, how do you set up for a liturgical dance team, how do you help conduct a Celtic Eucharist?

Bring your questions and together we will fine some answers. This is a faclitated group discussion with the idea of sharing the groups knowledge of both parish and diocesan special services and how the verger can and should assist.

This is a facilitated group discussion led by Michael Wells and Anthony Kastellic, both are vergers at Trinity Cathedral.

Friday Workshop: Recycling and Up-cycling

Ever wanted to learn how to knit plastic bags?  Ever wanted to make a remarkable gift for that special person?  Come to this interactive workshop to learn how to turn plastic shopping bags into Eucharistic vestments and altar hangings!

Lead by Trinity Cathedral's Kintting Pearls

Friday Workshop: The Verger and the Ministry of Hospitality

Do we really know how to "Greet and Welcome"?  Is the front door of your parish "warm and fuzzy" - or should it be? Do we like name tags? How can you be welcoming when you are running around in a black robe carrying a stick???

Lead by Judy Eckelmeyer

Friday Workshop: Reading Camps

"Reading Camps" are a parish-sponsored 5-day camp (day camp or overnight) working with 2nd, 3rd and 4th-grade "at risk" students. Six learning centers at the camp provide games, and unusual teaching methods for phonics, comprehension, strategies, pleasure reading and writing, etc. Information will include how to begin, finance, and recruit students

Lead by Kate Gillooly

Saturday Tour: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Saturday Tour: Cleveland Museum of Art

Saturday Tour: Lakeview Cemetery, Garfield Monument and Wade Chapel

Saturday Tour: Rockefeller Park

Saturday Evening Costume Dinner: The Medieval Feast and Vergers’ Recognition, in the Nave

The "Verger Banquet" this year has been transported back in time to Medieval times! The Nave of Trinity Cathedral will be converted into a banquet hall of yesteryear for all Vergers to enjoy.

This Banquet is similar to an annual Medieval Feast that is held every December at the Cathedral.

Costumes are HIGHLY encouraged! Click HERE for costume ideas. For more information, please contact Conference Chair Ed Metz.

Conference Registration

Registration on or before September 10, 2011 is discounted to $200.00. Registrations on and after September 11th will be $225.00.

Conference registration is available online through the VGEC Guild Shoppe Online Store using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Online registration is the easiest method of registration for the conference. You may also register by filling out a manual registration form and following the instructions on the form.

 If you need help, please contact Pat Metz, event co-chair and registration coordinator, at [email protected] or call 216.390.0240.

After registering on-line you will receive a confirmation email and further instructions. When you register online, you will also receive a copy of the manual registration form to supply the conference chairs with additional information (workshops, etc.) that will help them plan the event.

Because of the many incidental expenses associated with the VGEC Conference, we cannot price individual parts of the conference. Our hope is that all guests would register as a guest of the conference and attend as many of the conference functions as they desire.


The Guild will be providing scholarships to cover $150 of the registration expense for up to 15 attendees to the conference in Cleveland. The Mark Emory Graham Scholarship Fund of the VGEC will make these grants. They are intended to develop the ministry of the verger and will be considered for junior vergers, new vergers or first time attendees with a financial need.

You may download and print an online scholarship application form. For a faxed or mailed application, please contact Guild President, Margaret McLarty at [email protected].

The scholarship committee will review the requests and make the awards as soon as possible.

The grant will cover 75% of the registration fee but not transportation to the Conference or lodging.

Please contact Margaret for additional information.

Transportation, Maps, and Directions


The Cleveland Hopkins Airport is serviced by these air carriers:

Public Transportation

Cleveland has public transportation provided by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Conference registrants will receive RTA passes good for transportation via train between the airport and the hotel and via bus to and from the hotel and Cathedral.


There is plentiful free parking at Trinity Cathedral.

The hotel provides on-site parking for $24 per day or valet parking for $30 per day.

Map from the Hotel and the Cathedral

This is an interactive Google map of the conference hotel and Trinity Cathedral. Click HERE for a more advanced version of the this map.

The approximate walking distance from the hotel to the Cathedral is 1.2 miles.

Vergers' Guild 2011 Conference Map


The Conference Hotel is the Renaissance Cleveland
Hotel 1.3 miles from the Cathedral

The conference hotel is:

Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
24 Public Square
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

The Conference rate is $149 per night.
A dedicated booking web address has been created so you will be able to make, modify and cancel your hotel reservations online, as well as take advantage of any room upgrades, amenities or other services offered by the hotel.

If you need help, please contact the hotel directly.

Useful Documents and Links

Online Conference Registration
Manual Conference Registration Form
Conference Hotel Reservations
Diocese of Ohio
Scholarship Application
Contact Ed Metz, Conference Chair
Contact Pat Metz, Registration Coordinator

Prior Conference Information

Information from prior conferences is available HERE. We began documenting conference information as of 2009 at the San Diego Conference.

The VGEC photo album on Picasa has thousands of photos from past conferences dating back to the first conference held in Nashville, Tennessee in 1989.

Scott Smith,
Oct 5, 2011, 12:51 PM
Scott Smith,
Sep 27, 2011, 6:08 AM
Scott Smith,
Sep 19, 2011, 8:05 AM