2016 Spokane, Washington

VGEC Annual Conference: Thursday, September 22, through Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church will gather in the Northwest United States for our 28th Annual Conference in 2016! The Very Rev. Bill Ellis, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington and the Conference Host Committee from the Diocese of Spokane serve as your hosts for this exciting opportunity to learn more about the verger ministry, spend time in fellowship with vergers from around the US and the world, and to enjoy a number of worship opportunities together.

We are thrilled to announce that our Keynote Speaker will be the Right Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori!  She will join us for our awards banquet and celebrate with us on Sunday. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend quality time with a former Presiding Bishop,  hear her speak several times, and worship with her. She loves vergers!  

A third hotel has been added as of July 1st-The Madison Inn by Riversage. Please see the reservation information below and book your room today! This hotel is pet friendly, has free WiFi, and free parking. They call themselves "the best kept secret in Spokane."  

Spokane weather in September is generally very pleasant and moderate with low rain fall and sunny warm days and cool evenings. The average daytime temperature for September is 73 degrees F. The average low temperature overnight is 47 degrees F. The mean temperate is 60 degrees. The average rainfall for the month of September is low at .67 inches. Rain or shine, balmy or chilly, Spokane is near nature and near perfect.

Please visit the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information about Spokane and surrounding areas. http://www.visitspokane.com

Conference Highlights

  • Keynote speaker:  former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
  • Verger 101: Exploring the Verger Ministry for the New Verger
  • Verger 307: Advanced Topics for All Vergers
  • Verging in Depth: Mastering the Daily Office
  • Vergers Recognition Dinner and Entertainment
  • Verger Exhibit Hall including the Vergers Guild Shop and Hospitality Suite
  • VGEC Annual Business Meeting and board elections
  • Festive Choral Eucharist with the Procession of Vergers

General Information


Thursday, September 22-25, 2016

Host Parish

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington.

A floor plan of the cathedral is located as an attachment at the bottom of this page.

Parish Location

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
127 E. 12th Ave, Spokane WA 99202
Phone: 509-838-4277

Conference Contact Information

Dallas Hawkins, Host Committee Chair
[email protected]
Phone: 509-499-5446

Barry Norris, Registration Coordinator
[email protected]
Phone: +1 (215) 275-4631

28th Annual Conference Event Host Committee


Note: Conference registration will be available starting March 1, 2016, online through the VGEC Guild Shop using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.  Complete your registration before midnight PST on June 30, 2016, to be entered in a drawing for a $200.00 Apple gift card!

Registrations made through June 30, 2016 are $225.00 per person.

Registrations made after June 30, 2016 are $275.00 per person.

Registrations must be made by Monday, September 12, 2016. All conference plans for transportation, food, and logistics must be set by that date.  We cannot accept on-site registrations and must be made online through the Guild Shop in advance.

We hope that spouses/partners will also register for the conference to attend many conference events. The cost for all conference attendees (members and spouses/partners) is the same because the expenses (transportation, food, entertainment, etc.) is the same for everyone. For this reason too, we cannot price individual parts of the conference.

If you need assistance with your registration, please contact the Guild Shop at [email protected].

After registering online, you will receive a confirmation email as your transaction receipt. This email will also provide you with a link to specify your conference preferences. This will help us plan for space and accommodations for various events.


Cancellations made on or before August 31, 2016 will be fully refunded. After August 31, 2016, there will be a $50 cancellation fee. After September 12, 2016, there will be no refunds as all conference costs are set at that time. Click HERE to fill out a refund request form.

Please contact the Guild Shop at [email protected] for more information regarding registration, session preferences, fees, or refunds.

Conference Hotel-note new hotel information on The Madison Inn by Riversage

The Davenport Hotel Collection-Limited rooms available as of June 30th

The Davenport Hotel Collection consists of 4 hotels and the VGEC will be using the Historic and Tower Hotels. The Historic was the most modern hostelry in the United States when it opened in 1914. It was the first hotel with air conditioning, the first with a pipe organ, and the first with a central vacuum system. The Davenport Hotel shut down in 1985. But local entrepreneurs, Walt and Karen Worthy bought the hotel in 2000 and gave it a top-to-bottom renovation. The Davenport is grand again! This is where many of our meetings will be held, as well as the banquet.

The Davenport Tower, 111 South Post St, is directly across the street from the Historic.

Note: As of June 30th, there are no more rooms available at either of the Davenport Hotels for Thursday, September 22nd. There are still rooms for the other nights.

Hotel Contact Information

The Davenport Hotel Collection
10 South Post St., Spokane WA 99201
Phone: 509-455-8888
Fax: 509-624-4455                                                                                                                                                                    

Rates and Reservations-no rooms available at either Davenport Hotels for Thursday September 22nd, see third hotel information below

Rates for VGEC start at $139.00 plus tax for a total of $ 158/night. The group rate is available for Wednesday through Sunday only. Rooms have either a king or 2 queen beds. Reservations for both hotels can also be made online HERE.  ROOMS ARE LIMITED IN THE HISTORIC BUILDING AND ARE NOT AVAILABLE PRIOR TO THURSDAY NIGHT. If you are arriving early, please select the Tower building for your room.

The preferred booking method is through the hotel web site. If you are going to telephone for reservations call the hotels directly at 1-800-918-9342 (Tower) or 1-800-899-1482 (Historic) and let them know you are attending the 2016 Verger Guild of the Episcopal Church Conference. Ask for Group Sales if you need any help.


Self parking at the hotels is discounted to $ 10/day for VGEC attendees or there is valet parking at $ 22/day (no discount available).

Third Hotel Added - The Madison Inn by Riversage

The Madison Inn by Riversage offers a winning formula: great value, personal service, and tasteful rooms. As an independent hotel company, we do not pay franchise fees and pass along those savings to you. Plus we are pet friendly!

The rooms at the Madison Inn are $85 per night for a king or a room with one Queen and one Double bed. All rooms are the same price. The hotel is located just two blocks from the Cathedral a very easy walk up Grand Blvd. The hotel provides free breakfast,  free parking, and free WiFi. For a small daily fee you can bring a pet, or two.

The hotel will hold these rooms until August 31st. Guests can call the hotel at 1-800-538- 0375, or 1-509-474-4200 and ask for the Verger Guild block. You will also be able to make reservations outside of the block if they have rooms available.

The Madison Inn by Riversage

15 West Rockwood Blvd, Spokane WA 99204
Phone 509-474-4200 
FAX 509-474-4204 
Reservations 800-538-0375


Note: This information is under construction and is subject to change until September 1, 2016.

If you cannot view the agenda below (some firewalls may block this content), click HERE to open the online version. If you still have trouble, please contact [email protected] and we will email a PDF copy to you.

Sessions and Events

Note: This information under construction and is subject to change until September 1, 2016.

The 2016 Conference of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church has a large array of interesting sessions and events which will contribute greatly to your overall conference experience.

Keynote Speaker:  former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

The Right Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori's Keynote Address will be entitled, "Ordered for Freedom." How does the ministry of vergers offer creative possibility through setting boundaries? What does this form of leadership have to do with seasons of transition – in liturgy, ecclesial leadership, community life, and beyond? It will be a unique, thought-provoking look at our ministry through the eyes of a former Presiding Bishop, who knows vergers, and it is not to be missed!

Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in June 2006 and served until November 2015. She is currently teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary: one course on Peacemaking and Spiritual Discipline, and one course on Science and the Pastoral Art. 
Jefferts Schori's career as an oceanographer preceded her studies for the priesthood, to which she was ordained in 1994. She holds a B.S. in biology from Stanford University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University, an M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and several honorary doctoral degrees.  She remains an active, instrument-rated pilot – a skill she applied when traveling between the congregations of the Diocese of Nevada, where she was elected bishop in 2000 and ordained to the episcopate February 24, 2001. At the time of her election as Bishop of Nevada, she was a priest, university lecturer, and hospice chaplain in Oregon.

Bishop Schori grew up in the Seattle area and has spent most of her life in the West. 

Option 1: Verger 101 - Exploring the Verger Ministry for the New Verger

Led by Duke DuTeil, VGEC Training Advisor

Specifically designed to support the new verger as he or she embarks on this ministry. It is 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 Welcome?"
  • 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?

Note: Verger 101 is for newer vergers and for first-time conference attendees.

Option 2: Verger 307 - Advanced Discussion Topics for All Vergers

Led by Bob Mikrut, Head Verger, Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, PA and David Barr, St John Episcopal Cathedral, Denver, CO

This session is for vergers in both small and large parishes. In this session, we will explore several one-paragraph life circumstances that propose some sort of dilemma for the verger (conflict in liturgical planning, dealing with an ornery rector, the demanding verger, a real-life crisis in the Nave, etc.) The circumstance will be explored in a plenary session, discussed in small groups of 3 to 5, and reported back to the group.

Session 2: Friday 

Guided Tour of the Cathedral by J. B. Creed, Lead Tour Guide at St. John's

Very soon after his arrival from St. Paul, Minnesota, the transformative vision and inspired building of a unique Episcopal cathedral in the Spokane Missionary District was led by The Right Reverend Edward Makin Cross. With architect and All Saints’ Cathedral, Spokane member Harold C. Whitehouse’s newly re-drawn plans, the charismatic Cross and congregational teams of “colonels and soldiers” met at the Davenport Hotel and began planning for a church whose mission centered on “pointing this community to God.” Their vision and our Gothic Revival Cathedral was built out of sandstone and limestone in the English tradition. The decorative stone elements atop the tower and above the west entrance, like the stained glass, were French-influenced. The glass was glazed in a French Gothic tradition and features 38 windows by Charles J. Connick & Associates and 19 by William Willet & Associates. The First Unit, the nave & tower piers, was dedicated on October 20, 1929. Following the Stock Market Crash of 1929, The Great Depression, and WWII, construction on the Second Unit began in 1948. Cross Tower was completed in 1954. Our 72 stop Aeolian-Skinner organ was installed in 1960. All Saints’ Chapel was completed in 1961, and the John Taylor & Son Concert Carillon was installed in 1968.

Session 3: Friday

Option 1: Verging in Depth - Mastering the Daily Office

Led by Scott Smith, Head Sacristan at Trinity Wall Street and President of the VGEC and the Rev. Matthew T. L. Corkern, Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, NJ and Chaplain of the VGEC.

Does your church read the daily office? Is it on the schedule occasionally or every day of the week? Do you read Morning prayer and Evening Prayer? Do you ever have Compline? How do you train volunteers to set up a daily office rotation? Some people find reading Morning Prayer to be very intimidating? How can we make it easier for our readers to do it? Is it important to concentrate on how many people attend prayers? What is the purpose and history of the office anyway? These are just a few of the questions that we will consider together. 

Option 2: History of St. John's by Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev. Bill Ellis

This session will teach us about the history of the founding and building of St Johns Cathedral, the only English gothic building in North American built during one generation. Bill Ellis is a historian by education and is looking forward to providing an interesting multi media presentation.

Bill Ellis became Dean of the Cathedral in October 2006. Before coming to Spokane, he served as Rector of Trinity Church in Bend, OR for 14 years. Bill was born and raised on the west side of the Cascades in Oregon, and upon graduating from high school in Ashland he began attending the University of Oregon in Eugene, graduating with a degree in History in 1976. He enrolled in Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1978, and earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 1982. On October 8, 2009, the seminary awarded Bill an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He started his ordained ministry on the Oregon coast where he worked as the curate at Emmanuel in Coos Bay and the vicar of St. Mary’s in Reedsport/ Gardiner. Following two years in that work he spent eight years as the vicar of St. Bede’s Episcopal church in Forest Grove, OR before being called to Bend. Bill and his wife Beth are the parents of two grown daughters, Rachel and Karen.


Each year, the VGEC provides up to 15 scholarships to cover $175 of the registration expense. 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, or those with a financial need.

Click HERE to complete an online scholarship application.

The president of the VGEC will review the requests and will contact each member making a scholarship request. The process is very easy, so if you are interested, please complete the form today.

The scholarship covers $175 of the registration fee but not transportation, lodging, or additional food or other expenses.

Please contact the VGEC president at [email protected] if you have questions about the scholarship or the application process.

Transportation and Maps

Airlines and Flights and Trains

The Cathedral is located 8.5 miles and 14 minutes by vehicle from Spokane International Airport and 1.4 miles from the Amtrak train station. 

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways all serve Spokane. There are ten gateway cities that will give you a direct flight into Spokane; they are Boise, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Denver. Most other locations will get you to Spokane with one plane change. 

Spokane is located approximately 4.5 hours drive from Seattle. If you plan an extended vacation trip before or after the conference, nearby cities include Seattle, Portland, Boise, and Vancouver British Columbia.

Amtrak and the Empire Builder runs also serve Spokane from Chicago trough Spokane to Portland (Oregon) on a regular schedule.

Transportation from Airport to Hotel

Those traveling by train or by air can be transported to downtown Spokane and the hotels by city bus, Airport Shuttle Service, taxi or the Davenport Hotel shuttle. We will work with the hotel and a limo-service to provide van shuttle service to and from the airport for groups of passengers. (Fees of $15-$25 per room or per person may apply, the Davenport offers free service to hotel guests within 2 miles of the property). The Davenport can provide Town Car Shuttle service for $30 if you wish to arrange this in advance with the hotel. The cost is on a one-way per hotel room basis. 

We will offer a limited van shuttle service from Spokane Limousine between the airport and hotel at specific times of the day on Thursday, and Friday for arrivals and on Sunday for departures. There may be two van shuttles each afternoon. There is room for 14 passengers on each trip. The time of departure will be based on the time of arrival by the most attendees. The cost will be $10 each way. 

Car rentals are also available at the airport. Ubur or Lift will pick you up for about $15-$20 per ride and the cost can be shared. Cab service is about $26 per ride and the cost can be shared between up to four passengers. 

Nearby Food and Attractions

The Spokane area offers many opportunities for outdoor activities such as golf and sight seeing. There are numerous wineries, which can be visited in the area. The Hotels are located within easy walking distance of downtown shopping and Restaurants, as well as the Spokane River and Riverfront Park, a large downtown park located on the Spokane River and the sight of Expo 74.

Restaurants recommended nearby:

- Wild Sage American Bistro: $$$ - 916 W. 2nd Ave. 456-7575 www.wildsagebistro.com 

   - Hotel Davenport Palm Court Grill, $$$ - 10 S. Post St. Ste B. (509) 789-6848, Breakfast, lunch and dinner. www.davenporthotelcollection.com 

   - Post Street Ale House, $$ - 1 N. Post St. (509) 789-6900 Across the Street from the           Davenport Hotel. www.davenporthotelcollection.com 

   - Twig’s Bistro and Martini Bar $$ - Riverpark Square, second level. (509) 232-3376 www.twigsbistro.com 

   - Steelhead Bar and Grill $$ - 218 N. Howard Street. (509) 747-1303 www.steelheadbarandgrill.com 

   - Nudo Ramen House, $ - 818 W. Sprague Ave. (509) 290-5763 – www.nudoramen.com 

   - P.F. Chang’s China Bistro $$ - 801 W. Main Ave. (509) 456-2166 – www.pfchangs.com

   - Anthony’s at Spokane Falls. Seafood. $$ 510 N. Lincoln St. (509) 328-9009. www.anthonys.com


Coming soon!

Conference Communication

In addition to this web site, we use other methods for communicating about the conference:

  • Facebook: We use Facebook as a central place for all of us to post photos, facts, and everything else about the conference as it is being planned and during the conference. We use the hashtag #vgec28 (named for the 28th annual conference) on all posts so they are easy to find when searching.

  • The Verger's Voice blog: The vergersvoice.org blog will be covering all aspects of the conference before, during, and after. All members of the VGEC are automatically signed up to receive the blog. Click HERE for more information.

  • Flickr: Along with Facebook, we use Flickr as the permanent storage place for all of the photos from the conference (photos are taken by professional photographers and by many conference attendees). If you are taking photos, please coordinate with [email protected] to get your photos uploaded in to the album.


These links may be helpful in planning your trip.

  • Coming soon!
If you find additional links that should be added here, please contact [email protected].

File Attachments

Files associated with this conference are available below. Please contact [email protected] if there are any modifications that might be made to this page which would be helpful. We appreciate all feedback!

Subpages (1): Calendar Test
Eileen Brightwell-Hicks,
Jan 2, 2016, 9:31 AM