October 2, 2011 by Melanie Neal, VGEC News Correspondent [email protected]
The 23rd Annual Conference of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church (VGEC) was held Thursday September 29 to October 2, 2011 at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio. Over eighty vergers and guests attended from around the country including Canada. Ed Metz, Trinity’s Verger Emeritus and his wife Pat were conference hosts for the weekend and were supported by a large number of Trinity volunteers.
The conference began Thursday evening with a choral evensong presented in the Nave by the Cathedral Choir under the direction of Todd Wilson, Director of Music and Worship. Duke DuTeil, Head Verger from Washington National Cathedral, followed with a brief presentation about the damage from the earthquake weeks prior and the evening concluded with a dinner in Cathedral Hall.
Holy Eucharist was led Friday morning by the Rev. Canon Will Mebane and the conference continued with several workshops, group discussions, tours, and meetings throughout the day. Session topics included Verger 101 for new vergers, planning and coordinating special services such as the Feast of St. Francis with blessing of the animals, recruiting and training lay ministry volunteers, technology and the ministry of the verger, and the verger’s role in helping provide hospitality in the church. A reception hosted by the Very Reverend Tracey Lind, Dean of the Cathedral, concluded the evening’s festivities. Many vergers convened back at the hotel in the Guild Hospitality Suite provided by Guild Shop Manager, Bill Gleason.
Saturday began with Morning Prayer led by the Rev. Matthew T. L. Corkern, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church of Summit, New Jersey and the newly appointed Chaplain for the VGEC. The business meeting of the VGEC board and general membership followed during which Pat Allen, head verger from Christ Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky was elected to serve a second three year term as vice president.
The highlight of Saturday night was the Medieval Feast which began in Cathedral Hall and culminated in a multi course festival dinner in the nave of the Cathedral. Many of the vergers came in costume, there was a roasted pig presented to VGEC president Margaret McLarty, and an evening filled with music, dancing, and celebration. Margaret concluded the evening with the presentation of many new lifetime membership certificates as well as the certificates and virges presented to several vergers who completed the training course this year.
Sunday morning concluded the conference first with a special Dean’s Forum entitled “On being a Verger” (click HERE to listen to the podcast) followed by “The Vergers’ Parade” (click HERE to watch on VergerTV) with all vested visiting vergers following a bag-piper through the courtyard and into the nave for a special 11:15am Festival Choral Eucharist. Following the Eucharist, the vergers assembled in the Piazza for the official conference photograph.
The 2011 event was a great time for old friends to see each other and for new vergers to meet. The next conference will be in Lakeland, Florida and is hosted by All Saints Episcopal Church from Thursday October 11 until Sunday October 14, 2012. The 25th Anniversary Annual Conference of the VGEC in 2013 will be held where it all started back in 1989 in Nashville, Tennessee. We hope that you will be able to join us for both of these events. More information about all VGEC conferences can be found at vergers.org/conference.
Photos of the 2011 VGEC Annual Conference are located HERE.
Contact [email protected] for more information.