Mark Emory Graham Chapter

Vergers of the Diocese, Unite!

Charles Dale

The 111th Diocesan Council is 3 months away, but preparations are already under way to ensure that this event proceeds “safely, orderly, and with proper decorum!”  The MEG Chapter will again provide Vergers to serve at the Eucharist and as Tellers to the Council. 

Diocesan Council is at the First Baptist Church in Gainesville this year, November 10-11, 2017.  We need about a dozen volunteers to serve from about 8:00 am until around 4:00 pm on Friday (November 10th), and from 9:00 am until noon on Saturday (November 11th).  Many of you have served in previous years, and are seasoned professionals.  Others may be interested in serving for the first time—do not fear, we’ll show you the ropes quickly enough. 

This is an important, visible service of our Chapter to the Diocese, and fosters a tremendous sense of fellowship among the volunteers.  Please volunteer by e-mailing Karl Sachsenmaier (karlsachsenmaier@yahoo.com )  Full details and instructions will follow, about 2 weeks before the event.  Please respond as soon as you can commit—this is a fun event to serve at, and we will accept volunteers on a first come basis.

 

 

 

 

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Visits Vergers

Charles Dale

The Most Reverend Michael Curry,

Presiding Bishop and

Primate of The Episcopal Church,

Will join us on Friday,

October 13, 2017

We are proud to promote that The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, will join us at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church all day Friday, October 13, 2017, in service, in worship, and in conversation.  He will preach at Holy Eucharist.  He will also give the Keynote Address which will highlight the ministry of the Verger and our part to lead the Church in the Jesus Movement.

A long-standing tradition of the MEG Chapter Assembly Meetings, the Bishop gathers us about, sits among us, and teaches in the ancient tradition.  Some jokingly refer to this as “Stump the Bishop,” but there is a much deeper, intimate feeling to this type of interaction.  We began calling it, formally, “Dialogue with the Bishop.”  Bishop Curry has consented to join in this tradition.  It is our fond hope that the events of the day will inspire meaningful exchange, divine meaning, and lasting memories.

Summer Assembly 2017

Charles Dale

Summer Assembly 2017

and

25th Anniversary Celebration of

the Mark Emory Graham Chapter

 

Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their June 17, 2017 Summer Assembly at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta with Diocesan Bishop Keith Rob Wright.  Flanked on the far left is St. Bart’s Interim Rector, Allan Sandlin.  Second from the far right is our Host, Mary Beth Westmoreland.

Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their June 17, 2017 Summer Assembly at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta with Diocesan Bishop Keith Rob Wright.  Flanked on the far left is St. Bart’s Interim Rector, Allan Sandlin.  Second from the far right is our Host, Mary Beth Westmoreland.

The Gathering:

Vergers gathering for fellowship, pastries and coffee

Vergers gathering for fellowship, pastries and coffee

The Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church met for its Summer Assembly on a beautiful, sunny summer day on June 17, 2017, in northeast Atlanta.  We were hosted by St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, our inaugural Parish where on May 22, 1992, our Verger Chapter was officially formed with the election and installation of officers.  After all these years our Chapter, the largest in the VGEC, continues to flourish with semiannual meetings and various Diocesan service projects.

Forty-nine vergers, clergy, and guests participated in the gathering.  Four vergers joined the MEG Chapter for the first time by paying Chapter dues.

 Holy Eucharist:

The Bishop celebrating Holy Eucharist

The Bishop celebrating Holy Eucharist

We gathered for Eucharist with The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, both Celebrating and Preaching.  He was assisted by The Rev. Allan Sandlin, Interim Rector of St. Bartholomew’s.  Organist-Choirmaster, Shannon Gallier, led the St. Bart’s choir with inspiring hymns and music.

Bishop Wright’s sermon began with a reminder that the Verger ministry is an extension of his ministry to the parishes.  Our mission is to provide protection, direction, and decorum in our home churches.  We are charged with the provision of these specific tasks, “not exercising our O.C.D. or control issues.”  In the execution of this assignment, we naturally, become Teachers of the FaithFaith, however, cannot shine forth from small places, exclusive spaces, or places preoccupied with superiority.  Bishop Wright asked, “what can the Vergers can do to show the Diocese and the world that we are Teachers of the Faith?

Information and Fellowship:

Dialog with The Bishop

Dialog with The Bishop

After our group photo was taken, the Vergers removed their vestments and returned to the Nave for one of the best parts of our meetings: Dialog with the Bishop.  During this Q&A session, the floor is open to all to ask questions of interest to the Vergers.  Questions ranged from “When will the Prayer Book be revised?”, to “Why is the Altar Missal so hard to understand?” to Open Communion.  As one can imagine, there are no simple answers; our Bishop responded thoughtfully and thoroughly.  These were great teaching moments.  He is a bishop of great wisdom.

Rolando Thorne about to cut our Anniversary Cake

Rolando Thorne about to cut our Anniversary Cake

We then continued our fellowship with lunch.  During this time, we enjoyed a video slide collage produced and edited by Bill Monk showing Vergers in service for the past 10+ years at previous assemblies, at church, at Acolyte Festivals, and at Annual Councils serving as Tellers.  All this culminated with dessert: a 25th Anniversary Cake adorned with the MEG Chapter logo baked by our own baker extraordinaire, Rolando Thorne.

Continuing Ed and Service Project:

The Cathedral Bookstore’s Chris Palmer

The Cathedral Bookstore’s Chris Palmer

The Cathedral Bookstore, thanks to Chris Palmer, made available a wide selection of reference materials and books to aid Vergers in their ministry.  Sales were brisk; clearly our members value continued learning to become better Vergers. 

Sharon Campolucci of THCA

Sharon Campolucci of THCA

Continuing our tradition of supporting a local ministry. Vergers brought in baskets full of toilet paper, bath bar soap, paper towels, and laundry detergent for the benefit of the clients of Toco Hills Community Alliance (THCA). Sharon Campolucci thanked the Vergers for their support which allowed them to fill some of their shelves for the first time in quite a while. THCA is a group of faith communities working together to help Atlanta area neighbors in need, helping those less fortunate than ourselves.  Founded in 1998, the group continues to assist individuals and families living in the northeastern part of Atlanta who face the possibility of the loss of housing and/or who are without sufficient food for themselves or their families

Business of the Chapter:

MEG Chapter Chair Phillip Knight

MEG Chapter Chair Phillip Knight

The amazingly short business meeting was called to order by Chair, Phillip Knight. Financial reports were presented by MEG Treasurer Karl Sachsenmaier and VGEC Host Committee CFO Martha-Sue Blythe.  The Chair reminded everyone of upcoming events including the Annual VGEC Conference in Atlanta (October 12-15, 2017), Annual Conference Tellers (November 10-11, 2017) and announced that St. Aidan’s in Milton will host our Winter Assembly 2018.  Our Assembly adjourned early with a closing prayer led by Martha-Sue Blythe.

All photos in this article were taken by Bill Monk who has also created a Gallery for the Summer Assembly including photos and several videos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Assembly 2017

Charles Dale

Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their January 21 Winter Assembly at the Church of Incarnation in Atlanta with Bishop Keith Whitmore. Kneeling are Music Director, Trey Clegg, MEG Chair, Phillip Knight, and our Host, Rolando Thorne.  Flanked on the left is Deacon Chris Faucette and on the right is Canon John Thompson-Quartey

Photo: Bill Monk

The Gathering and Holy Eucharist:

The Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church met for its Winter Assembly on a dark and stormy January 21st day in Southwest Atlanta.  We were hosted by The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation. Forty-six vergers, clergy, and guests participated in the gathering.  Nine vergers joined the MEG Chapter for the first time when they paid Chapter dues.

After registration, fellowship, coffee, and pastries, we gathered for Eucharist. The Right Reverend Keith B. Whitmore, Assisting Bishop of Atlanta, was Celebrant and Preacher.  Bishop Whitmore was assisted by The Rev. Deacon Chris Faucette and The Rev. Canon John Thompson-Quartey with a full complement of Acolytes and Altar Ministers for the service.  Trey Clegg was vibrant as the organist and pianist.

The Deacon, The Bishop, and Verger and meeting host, Rolando Thorne Photo:  Bill Monk

The Deacon, The Bishop, and Verger and meeting host, Rolando Thorne

Photo:  Bill Monk

Bishop Keith Whitmore’s last sermon to the assembled Vergers of the Mark Emory Graham Chapter proclaimed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as written in Mathew 16:13-19.  In Bishop Whitmore’s typically adroit blend of wit and pragmatism, the congregation was led on a journey from recognition (St Peter was a stumbling, blind every-man!) to a sense of our own Christ- driven purpose.  To summarize and distill this sermon down, to reduce this message of hope and purpose to a few pithy bons-mot would do the reader a disservice.  Our friend Bill Monk recorded this sermon, and you can view it here.  It is nine minutes well spent.

Information and Fellowship:

Dialog with The Bishop Photo:  Bill Monk

Dialog with The Bishop

Photo:  Bill Monk

During our time with our friend and advocate of the Verger Ministry, the Bishop, we touched on several topics.  The session was bitter-sweet knowing that this was the last time we would be enlightened by him.  As is his custom, our teacher responded to most questions by turning them into descriptions of our role as Vergers.  These were not textbook responses, but rather teaching moments.

Farewell to our Bishop:

MEG Chapter Chair, Phillip Knight, Presentation to Bishop Keith Photo:  Bill Monk

MEG Chapter Chair, Phillip Knight, Presentation to Bishop Keith

Photo:  Bill Monk

Bishop Whitmore has been steadfast in his support to the Ministry of the Verger since his first meeting with us in 2008.  Including today, he has graced us with his presence at Assemblies eleven times.  The Mark Emory Chapter felt it incumbent upon us to thank him for his service with a suitable set of gifts that would be an appropriate expression of the devoted relationship the Chapter has come to share with the Bishop.  Chair Knight presented our Bishop with a Holy Card of St Thomas and an inscribed copy of “The Case of the Dirty Verger” by Malcom Noble.  The inscription is as follows:

January 21, 2017
To our friend, Bishop Keith Whitmore:
Perhaps a man’s bookshelf is reflective of his personality.  This cheeky little volume then deserves a place on the shelf between the Summa Theologica and Cur Deus Homo, as a reminder of two essential truths:
1)      Life without whimsy is wasted.
2)     MEG Vergers should be well supervised
With the utmost affection, respect, and gratitude,
The Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church
Following the heartfelt thank you from Bishop Whitmore which brought tears to everyone, the finale was to serenade the Bishop.  With Trey Clegg’s fervent musical accompaniment, the Vergers rose to sing an enthusiastic rendition of the Vergers’ Theme song:  I AM THE VERGER IN THE MORNING.  The entire serenade was captured on video by Bill Monk.  Click here to enjoy a chuckle or two.
The Bishop thoroughly enjoying the serenade from MEG Chapter Vergers Photo:  Bill Monk

The Bishop thoroughly enjoying the serenade from MEG Chapter Vergers

Photo:  Bill Monk

Following this momentous goodbye, we joined in fellowship by breaking bread with a variety of sandwiches provided by the good people of Incarnation. For dessert, we were treated to a homemade carrot cake adorned with the MEG Chapter logo and prepared by our host Rolando Thorne.

The Cathedral Bookstore’s Chris Palmer Photo:  Curt Yarbrough

The Cathedral Bookstore’s Chris Palmer

Photo:  Curt Yarbrough

The Cathedral Bookstore, thanks to Chris Palmer, made available a wide selection of reference materials and books to aid Vergers in their ministry.  Sales were brisk; clearly our members like to continue learning to become better Vergers.  The Bookstore also provided an ample supply of books for our service project supporting Emmaus House.

 Keynote Address:

Canon John Thompson-Quartey Photo:  Bill Monk

Canon John Thompson-Quartey

Photo:  Bill Monk

The Rev. Canon John Thompson-Quartey was our featured speaker.  Although metempsychosis is not a tenet of Anglican faith, it would explain a few things about Canon John.  This gentleman could have been a snow salesman in Alaska!  Seriously infectious in his enthusiasm, he managed to sell a roomful of boisterous, energetic Vergers on the notion of the necessity of daily contemplation on the lessons of the Daily Office. 

Canon John was asked to address the concerns of a fretful Board member about the spiritual needs of the Vergers, as they undertake the daily and weekly tasks of their ministry vocation.  Oh, foolish Vergers, who thought the solution would be “talk to someone” or “Delegate more” or even “Does your chapter have a Chaplain?”   Wrong, wrong, and wrong.   The strength and vitality lies within each of us; the fuel for our lives need just be revealed.  Again, it would do the casual reader of these lines a disservice to spoil Canon John’s remarks by over-simplification-- here’s the link to a video recording.  View it, enjoy Canon John’s wonderful humour and clarity of message. Then dust off your Daily Office Book, and set aside some time each day to charge your lamps with oil!

Service Project:

The MEG Chapter conducted a service project to support Emmaus House by purchasing books for their library.  The books are for their middle and high school afternoon program Youth on the Move.   The books were carefully chosen, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relevant books for youth.  The Cathedral Bookstore brought a large supply of books for purchase.  The attending Vergers completely bought out the supply of books; the Bookstore will resupply its inventory.

Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith, Director of Leadership Development, spoke of the Youth on the Move program which strives to provide middle and high school students with opportunities that will prepare them for success as adults.  Students gather in Ezzard Hall at Emmaus House after school, three days per week. Caring staff check in with each student about their day and students receive homework assistance. Students participate in enrichment activities and are encouraged to explore colleges and careers through workshops and presentations as well as engage in discussions and experiences that are motivating and empowering.

After three dozen plus books were delivered to Emmaus house, we received this note:

Dear Phillip and Members of the Vergers’ Guild,

Thank you for the donation of books to the Youth on the Move program at Emmaus House. I was so happy to learn that vergers purchased ALL the books the Cathedral Book Store brought to the winter assembly! You are such a great group! Youth on the Move scholars will enjoy the prize-winning African-American novels and non-fiction books, and Emmaus House will benefit from this excellent collection for years. I appreciate the vergers’ kindness and generosity.

Warm regards,

Ann Fowler

Director of Education Services

 Business of the Chapter:

The meeting was called to order by Chair Phillip Knight. followed by an opening prayer, approval of the 2016 Summer Assembly Minutes, and a report from the Treasurer Karl Sachsenmaier.  There is over $300 in the treasury with $2500 outstanding loan to the VGEC, which expected to be paid soon.

Training Officer Ruth Anne Tatum reported that, with the assistance of Canon Thompson-Quartey, the Verger Customaries developed in 2014 will be distributed to the current list of Interims and Priests-In-Charge. Chuck Dale gave a brief Communications report, followed by an update on the first three weeks that Conference Registration has been open.  Vergers will be attending from as far east as London and as far west as Honolulu.  Several Canadian Vergers have also registered.

The Chair announced that our next Assembly will be hosted by St. Bartholomew’s in Atlanta.  The first officers of the Chapter were installed at St. Bart’s on May 22, 1992.   We will rejoice in the MEG Chapter’s 25th Anniversary with a celebration being led by Bishop Wright.  Our Chapter is the second local Chapter of the VGEC and is the largest Chapter, with most number of Vergers of any Diocese in the VGEC.

 Vice Chair Martha-Sue Blythe closed the meeting with a prayer.

Bill Monk has created a Gallery for the Winter Assembly including photos and the three videos mentioned earlier.

 

2017 VGEC Annual Conference in Atlanta

Charles Dale

We encourage all Atlanta Vergers to attend

For comprehensive information on the Conference

click here

To register for the Conference

click here

To book a room at the Marriott Marquis

click here

During the Winter Assembly Business Assembly, there was confusion regarding the conference details.  Below is a summary of key information:

  • The 29th Annual VGEC Conference will be held October 12 -15, 2017.
  • Registration is $225.00 to attend the entire Conference (Thurs -Sun)
    • It is required that all registrants be members of VGEC.
    • It is preferred that Diocese of Atlanta Vergers are Chapter Members of the MEG Chapter.
    • Registration includes dinner on Thursday, lunch on Friday and   reception and banquet on Saturday.
    • The practice that the VGEC has followed for years is that members’ and guests’ rate for the Conference is the same. The expense of the Conference is not in the cost of the sessions. The expense is in the food, transportation, decorations, snacks, welcome bags, the banquet, and other expenses that are common to everyone.
  • Only the Thursday Evensong, Friday Holy Eucharist, and Sunday Holy Eucharist are open to the public
  • Conference Headquarters is the Marriott Ma