Mark Emory Graham Chapter

Winter Assembly 2018

Charles Dale
  Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their February 24, 2018, Winter Assembly at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Milton.  Father Reggie Simmons (center) is the Rector of St. Aidan’s.  Attending Vergers brought food items in support of the Backpacks of Love Ministry.  The backpacks held by the Vergers were presented during the Offertory.  Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their February 24, 2018, Winter Assembly at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Milton.  Father Reggie Simmons (center) is the Rector of St. Aidan’s.  Attending Vergers brought food items in support of the Backpacks of Love Ministry.  The backpacks held by the Vergers were presented during the Offertory.  Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

The Gathering:

The Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church met for its Winter Assembly during a beautiful winter day on February 24, 2018, in Milton, Georgia.  We were hosted by St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church and we were treated to scrumptious breakfast burritos, donuts, juice and coffee.  We were afforded an opportunity to visit with old friends and make new friends.  Thirty-seven vergers, clergy, and guests participated in the gathering.  Four vergers joined the MEG Chapter for the first time by paying Chapter dues.

Holy Eucharist:

  Father Reggie Simmons introduced the St. Aidan’s Vergers during the Peace.  Pictured L-R: Bob Stecher,    Corrine Hofstetter, Cozy Ledford (Head Verger), Becky Sullivan, and Fr. Simmons.  Photo: Marty McPherson     

Father Reggie Simmons introduced the St. Aidan’s Vergers during the Peace.  Pictured L-R: Bob Stecher,

Corrine Hofstetter, Cozy Ledford (Head Verger), Becky Sullivan, and Fr. Simmons.  Photo: Marty McPherson

 

We gathered for Eucharist with The Reverend Reginald Simmons, Rector of St. Aidan’s, both Celebrating and Preaching.    Charles Higgs, Director of Music Ministries, led the St. Aidan’s choir with inspiring hymns and music.

The service was held on the Feast Day of St. Matthias the Apostle.  Fr. Reggie Simmons delivered a topical sermon centered about the notion that Vergers are called by Christ to lead the people of the Church.  His inspired proclamation of the Good News in Christ was very well received by those in attendance and entreated the MEG Vergers to consider their ministry as indeed a Christian Vocation, a calling. 

Information and Fellowship:

  The Rev. Canon Lang Lowrey    Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

The Rev. Canon Lang Lowrey

Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

After our group photo was taken, the Vergers removed their vestments and returned to the Nave for the Keynote address titled “The Future of the Episcopal Church” given by The Rev. Canon Lang Lowrey, Canon for Christian Enterprises, Diocese of Atlanta.  He delivered some sobering data about the decline in Episcopal Church USA membership.  The bad news: we can't blame this on the Anglican Church in North America (only 5,200 members) or our politics.  The good news:  we can't blame our liturgy!  The decline seems to be caused by conflict between rectors and congregants: rectors and vestries, and intra-congregational conflicts.  The path to growth seems to be clear – evangelize, diversify, and commit to a Christian notion of radical hospitality.

The Cathedral Bookstore, thanks to Kerith Lee, 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. 

 

We continued our fellowship with lunch.  Vergers were asked to bring their verges to display to the attendees.

  Verges and dessert    Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

Verges and dessert

Photo: Martha-Sue Blythe

Continuing Ed and Service Project:

  John Ray, founder of Backpacks of Love.      Photo: Contributed by Marty McPherson

John Ray, founder of Backpacks of Love. 

Photo: Contributed by Marty McPherson

Continuing our tradition of supporting a local ministry Vergers brought in baskets full of backpack supplies to support the Backpacks of Love Ministry supported by St. Aidan’s.  In addition, the offertory was designated for them too.  Mr. John Ray addressed the Vergers about this ministry.  The ministry is an effort to alleviate food shortage on a local basis.  Referrals for this program come from social workers in the area.  An ecumenical network of volunteers springs into action to provide backpacks filled with groceries.  John's real message:  This stuff isn't rocket science.  Just get started, see a need, and fulfill that need!

 

Business of the Chapter:

  MEG Chapter Chair Phillip Knight

MEG Chapter Chair Phillip Knight

The remarkably short business meeting was called to order by Chair, Phillip Knight. The opening prayer was “The Vergers Prayer” led by Martha-Sue Blythe. Financial and Committee reports were presented and by MEG Chapter Board members.  The Chair reminded everyone of upcoming events including the Renewal of Vows Service and Annual Conference Tellers.  Also, Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville will host our Summer Assembly 2018.  Our Assembly adjourned early with a closing prayer led by Kay AnderSon.  For a provisional copy of the Assembly Minutes, click here.

 

Summer Assembly July 7, 2018

Charles Dale

Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville to Host the Summer Assembly

July 7, 2018

9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Grace Episcopal Church

431 Washington Street
Gainesville, GA 30501
770-536-0126

http://www.gracechurchgainesville.org/

 

·      

 

 

 

Acolyte Festival October 27, 2018

Charles Dale

The date of the 2018 Acolyte Festival has been announced.

The Festival will be held Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Cathedral of St. Philip from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Bishop Rob Wright will celebrate Holy Eucharist and lead a workshop for all acolytes.

Additional details will be provided as they become available.

 

 

 

29th Annual VGEC Conference a Huge Success

Charles Dale

The MEG Host Committee Produced the Most Meaningful and Successful Annual VGEC Conference

VGEC Group Photo.jpg

 

Highlights Included

Three Worship Services

Evensong Thursday Evening

with Bishop Victor Attah-Baffoe

Bishop Atta-Baffoe.jpg

Holy Eucharist Friday Noon

with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Holy Eucharist Sunday Morning

with Bishop Rob Wright

Bishop Wright.jpg

And

Two Workshops

Celebrating Liturgical Time

with Bishop Neil Alexander

Bishop Alexander.jpg

Revising the BCP and Hymnal

with Dean Sam Candler

Dean Candler.jpg

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.

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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:

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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:

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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.
   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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.

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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:

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    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.

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith