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 inquiries concerning the upcoming service, church facilities, or current program offerings. Among other duties, the verger's logistical support allows the clergy more time prepare for worship and to attend to pastoral concerns of the congregation..
We often say that every parish has a verger whether they are identified as such! Many of the typical verger duties may include assigning, training and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes and prayer intercessors. The verger often coordinates with the altar guild and funeral guilds and in some parishes the verger also checks lighting and/or operates the sound. Indeed, the verger often the 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'. Vergers can especially helpful with visiting clergy or special services. The verger ma be checking on additional seating, and offering hospitality and welcome to 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 on our website, 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 and is authorized to carry a distinctive "Fellows Virge".
Since its founding in 1989 the Guild has held its annual conference in many different and exciting locations as well as online dure the Covid-19 years. The gathering includes the Annual Business 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 at the diocesan level to bring vergers in a diocese together for education and fellowship throughout the year.
If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us and we will be happy to help.