The duties of a Verger are rooted in the earliest days of the Church’s history. Today’s Vergers are laypersons who serve the clergy in a ministry of liturgical coordination and welcome. It is an appointed volunteer position, serving at the discretion of the Rector. Our current Vergers are: Adelaide Few, Dallas Coffield, Gregory Gaar, Walter Hardenstine, Dave Kenyon (Head Verger) and Eric Williams.
The Verger’s primary responsibility is to support the priest allowing more time for pastoral and sacramental responsibilities. Some typical Verger duties are assigning, training, and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes, and prayer intercessors. Setting up the family members and banner carriers for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, as well as assisting in all processions to ensure they go smoothly. The Verger coordinates with the clergy, acolyte master, music director and choir, altar guild, ushers and greeters, and checks lighting and sound. The Verger works with the rector to ensure that any special service needs are met and that the service flow is seamless and grace-filled. Often the visitor will see the Verger in a simple black cassock moving about the church preparing for worship, and responding to questions from parishioners old and new. Because of these factors, a Verger needs to be knowledgeable in all aspects of the Episcopal Church and its Sacraments and services.
In addition to their liturgical duties, the vergers of St. Johns are also charged with medical intervention during an emergency. Trained to utilize the AED unit, they will take charge of a medical emergency, calling 911 should it be necessary.
You will recognize our vergers readily as they lead the procession, carry a *Virge, and wear a grey Chimere adorned with the Verger’s Guild and St. John’s embroidered crests. Here at St. John’s, our vergers are trained to fill any lay position during the service, if needed, from lector, to acolyte, to chalice bearer. One of the most enjoyable aspects of their ministry is sharing the beauty and history of their parish home with visitors and visiting clergy. They are always happy to give a tour, take your photo, and introduce you to the clergy and our parishioners.
*The Virge is the staff carried in procession.
If you are interested in learning more about or participating in this ministry, please contact the Rector by clicking here.