Just what is a verger?
The title of “verger” arises from the ceremonial rod they traditionally carried known as a virge. The office of verger has its roots in the early days of the Church of England's history. Even though the history of verging and vergers goes back over 700 years, the ministry of service and welcome from the vergers of the Episcopal Church is thriving in the twenty-first century!
Today's vergers are laypersons who serve the church in a ministry of service and welcome. Often the visitor will see the verger in a simple cassock moving about the church preparing for worship. The verger is able to respond to any inquiry concerning the upcoming service, church facilities or current program offerings.
The verger's logistical and behind-the-scenes support allows the clergy more time for pastoral and sacramental responsibilities. We often say that every parish has a verger whether or not they are identified as such. Some typical verger duties are assigning, training, and checking in lectors, chalice bearers, acolytes and prayer intercessors.
The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church offers a self-study training course. For even the most experienced lay minister, this training course is useful in forming the verger's awareness of how best to support the worship of the parish as prescribed by the rector. You are not required to take the course to be a member of the Guild or to be a verger. Completing the course results in being awarded a Certificate of Completion. All members who complete the training course are recognized as a "Fellow in the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church."
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