Mark Emory Graham Chapter

June 30, 2019 - New Verger Installation at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Verger Atlanta

To All Vergers in the Atlanta Diocese of Middle and North Georgia!

Greetings!!  

On Sunday June 30, 2019, we will welcome a new verger into the Diocese of Atlanta! Mr. Larry Roberson will be installed as a verger at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Hartwell, Georgia.

Martha-Sue Blythe, MEG Chapter Chairperson, and St. Andrew’s Head Verger, Betty Martin, have requested our presence at the 10:00 AM service to show our support for Larry and to strengthen St. Andrew’s relationship with the community of vergers in the Diocese of Atlanta.

We currently have two vergers signed up to make the trip to St. Andrew’s Hartwell on June 30, and we hope you will join us!

Cassocks, cinctures, and chimeres are appropriate (no Virges please!). We will gather at St. Andrews's at 9:30 AM on Sunday June 30. Please respond to me at gabriel5018@hotmail.com if you would like to participate. We hope to have a couple of carpools go on June 30 to show our support.

As your new Membership Chairperson, I am excited about promoting the verger ministry and welcoming new vergers to the diocese. Last December, Chairperson Martha-Sue Blythe organized a group of vergers to attend the installation of the first verger at St. Alban’s in Monroe – the visiting vergers were well received, the parish met several vergers and learned more about the verger ministry, and the new ministry got off to a strong start.

I’d like for attendance at verger installations to be a regular activity of the MEG Chapter. It is a wonderful way to show our support and make connections in the diocese. So if your parish is planning to install a new verger in the coming year, please let me know about it, so we can celebrate with you!

If you are unable to join us in Hartwell on June 30, please have Larry and St. Andrew’s on your prayer list to lift them up in support of this ministry, to the glory of God.

Faithfully,

Julia Gable
Membership Chairperson
MEG Chapter of the VGEC

 

MEG Chapter ByLaws Amendments Posting 1 (20190511)

Verger AtlantaComment

MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . .

Spring Assembly - Episcopal Church of the Holy Family
Jasper, GA - May 11, 2019


Spring Assembly - Bylaws Change Vote
Upcoming Vote at the Spring Assembly Meeting in Jasper, Georgia

In accordance with the By-Laws of the MEG Verger Chapter this communication will serve as the official posting of proposed By-Law Changes to the Diocese of Atlanta Verger Community and shall be posted as required on the official MEG Verger Chapter web site: www.vergeratlanta.org under Current News.

ARTICLE VII - BYLAWS Amendments to these bylaws shall be by majority vote of those Chapter members in attendance at the annual business meeting and shall be effective at that time unless otherwise stated. Any such proposed amendments shall be published on the Chapter web site and in the newsletter at least two months prior to the meeting at which they are presented for a vote. In that notice, members shall be advised of the opportunity to provide written comments or questions to the Chair during that time frame.

Please provide any written comments or questions to: Martha-Sue Blythe, Chair of the MEG Board at: Blythems003@gmail.com.
 

Item ONE for Amendment is the Mission Statement of the MEG Verger Chapter. 
This change has been prompted by a number of requests for: donations, sponsorships, promotions, etc. in areas outside the scope of the MEG Verger Chapter. The belief is a few minor tweaks in our Mission Statement may help requestors better understand the Mission of the Diocese Verger Organization. Our Mission Statement is our grounding compass for our organizational direction.

Current Mission Statement:
The mission of the Chapter is to promote and support vergers in their ministries throughout the parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The Chapter will create an atmosphere of fellowship to provide opportunities to welcome and assist any verger within the Diocese. The Chapter will be a resource for the exchange of information vital to vergers in performing their duties as well as training when requested. The Chapter will also maintain a close and enduring connection with the National Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church

Proposed Mission Statement Changes:
The mission of the Chapter is to promote and support vergers in their ministries throughout the parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The Chapter will create an atmosphere of fellowship to provide opportunities to welcome and assist any vergers within the Diocese in fulfilling their duties within their assigned parish. The Chapter will be a resource for the exchange of information vital essential to vergers in performing their duties as well as training when requested. The Chapter will also maintain a close and enduring connection with the National Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church.
 
Item TWO for Amendment are changes to the Treasurer’s duties and responsibilities.

Current Treasurer Duties and Responsibilities:
4-2-4- Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for the financial affairs of the Chapter and shall be authorized to receive dues and other funds, make authorized disbursements, keep necessary records of financial transactions, and prepare an annual financial report.

Proposed Treasurer Duties and Responsibilities Changes:
4-2-4- Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for the financial affairs of the Chapter and shall be authorized to: send approved reminders to members for dues due, receive dues and other funds, make authorized disbursements, keep necessary records of financial transactions, and prepare an annual financial report. The Treasurer works closely with the Financial Department of the Diocese of Atlanta, who maintains the financial assets of the MEG Verger Chapter.
 

Item THREE Amendment is to create a new board position, Membership Chair. 
Currently the Communications chair has a dual responsibility of handling all communications related duties as well as membership related duties as defined in Section 4.2-6 of our Bylaws below. We believe it is in the best interest of the MEG Chapter to create the Membership Chair board position to assist in expanding the verger ministry within the Atlanta Diocese and to maintain rosters of MEG Chapter current members and of all active vergers within the Diocese.

Current Bylaw 4-2-6- Communications:
4-2-6- Communications: The Communications Chair shall be responsible for making known the activities of the Chapter as considered appropriate by the Board and as approved by the Chair, including posting information on the web site, preparing the periodic chapter newsletter, etc. Additionally, the Communications Chair shall be responsible for maintaining a current roster of all dues paying members of the Chapter and, to the extent possible, a list of all vergers in the diocese.

Proposed Bylaw 4-2-6- Communications Changes:
4-2-6- Communications: The Communications Chair shall be responsible for making known the activities of the Chapter as considered appropriate by the Board and as approved by the Chair, including posting information on approved web and social media sites, preparing the periodic chapter newsletter and disseminating any other correspondence as requested by the Board Chair.

Proposed Bylaw 4-2-7 Membership - Addition:
4-2-7- Membership: The Membership Chair shall be responsible for maintaining a current roster of all dues paying members of the Chapter and, to the extent possible, a list of all vergers in the diocese. Ensuring Membership Certificates are sent out and MEG Verger Patches are sent as appropriate to all new members. Membership Chair will lead and direct a Membership Committee which will be responsible for reaching out to all existing and new vergers on a periodic basis with the intention of growing MEG Chapter membership.
 
Item FOUR Amendment is to clarify Vice Chair responsibilities to assist the Chair as needed.

Current Bylaw 4-2-2 Vice Chair:
4-2-2 Vice Chair: In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall act in his/her place. The Vice Chair shall be nominated to become the new Chair when his/her term as Vice Chair expires.

Proposed Bylaw 4-2-2 Vice Chair:
4-2-2 Vice Chair: In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall act in his/her place. The Vice Chair will support other duties or lead special projects at the direction of the Chair. The Vice Chair shall be nominated to become the new Chair when his/her term as Vice Chair expires.
 

Looking forward to seeing you on May 11!

 

MEG Chapter ByLaws Amendments Posting 2 (20190511)

Verger AtlantaComment

SPRING ASSEMBLY – JASPER, GEORGIA – MAY 11 
By-Law Changes – Up-Coming Vote at the Spring Assembly Meeting in Jasper, Georgia

(Current Bylaws verbiage is in Italics - Proposed Changes in Bold)

In accordance with the By-Laws of the MEG Verger Chapter this communication will serve as the official posting of proposed By-Law Changes to the Diocese of Atlanta Verger Community and shall be posted as required on the official MEG Verger Chapter web site:   www.vergeratlanta.org  under Current News.
 
ARTICLE VII - BYLAWS Amendments to these bylaws shall be by majority vote of those Chapter members in attendance at the annual business meeting and shall be effective at that time unless otherwise stated. Any such proposed amendments shall be published on the Chapter web site and in the newsletter at least two months prior to the meeting at which they are presented for a vote. In that notice, members shall be advised of the opportunity to provide written comments or questions to the Chair during that time frame.
 
Please provide any written comments or questions to:  Martha-Sue Blythe, Chair of the MEG Board at:Blythems003@gmail.com.  These changes reflect input already received on previous input. The MEG Board would like to get these all cleaned up at our up-coming Assembly.
 

THE MARK EMORY GRAHAM CHAPTER
THE VERGERS’ GUILD OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
DIOCESE OF ATLANTA
BYLAWS
ARTICLE I - NAME

The name of this body shall be “The Mark Emory Graham Chapter (Diocese of Atlanta) of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church,” hereinafter referred to as “ The Chapter.”

ARTICLE II - MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Chapter is to promote and support vergers in their ministries throughout the parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The Chapter will create an atmosphere of fellowship to provide opportunities to welcome and assist any vergers within the Diocese in fulfilling their duties within their assigned parish.  The Chapter will be a resource for the exchange of information vital essential to vergers in performing their duties as well as training when requested.  The Chapter will also maintain a close and enduring connection with the National Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church.
 

ARTICLE III - AUXILIARY ORGANIZATION FOR TAX EXEMPT AND OTHER PURPOSES

The GuildChapter, expressly binding itself and its members, submits itself to the authority of the Constitution of the Diocese and the Constitution of ECUSA, separately or collectively the "Constitution," Canons of the Diocese and the Canons of ECUSA, separately and collectively the "Canons" and the duly elected, installed and serving Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, variously known as the "Bishop," "Ecclesiastical Authority" or the "Ordinary."

ARTICLE IV - BOARD AND OFFICERS

4-1 Government: The affairs of the Chapter shall be governed by a Board consisting of six  seven officers as defined in Article 4-2, together with such members-at-large as may be defined under the terms of Article 4-4.

4-2 Officers - Duties:  

4-2-1 Chair: The Chair shall provide leadership and vision for the Chapter, shall act as chair of business sessions and meetings of the Board, represent the Chapter at official functions, and shall perform any other normal duties of that office, including the preparation of an annual report. 

4-2-2 Vice Chair: In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall act in his/her place.  The Vice Chair will support other duties or lead special projects at the direction of the Chair.  The Vice Chair shall be nominated to become the new Chair when his/her term as Vice Chair expires.
 
4-2-3- Secretary: The Secretary shall maintain the records of the Chapter, undertake all necessary correspondence, assist in scheduling and planning meetings, take minutes of official meetings and act as liaison with other bodies. 

4-2-4- Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for the financial affairs of the Chapter and shall be authorized to: send approved reminders to members for annual dues due, receive dues and other funds, make authorized disbursements, keep necessary records of financial transactions, and prepare an annual financial report. The Treasurer works closely with the Financial Department of the Diocese of Atlanta, who maintains the financial assets of the MEG Verger Chapter.
 
4-2-5- Training: The Training Chair shall be responsible for conducting periodic educational meetings for the Chapter and shall be responsible for arranging verger training for member parishes when so requested. 

4-2-6- Communications: The Communications Chair shall be responsible for making known the activities of the Chapter as considered appropriate by the Board and as approved by the Chair, including posting information on approved web and social media sites, preparing the periodic chapter newsletter and disseminating any other correspondence as requested by the Board Chair.

4-2-7- Membership The Membership Chair shall be responsible for maintaining a current roster of all dues paying members of the Chapter and, to the extent possible, a list of all vergers in the diocese.  Ensuring Membership Certificates are sent out and MEG Verger Patches are sent as appropriate to all new members.  Membership Chair will lead and direct a Membership Committee which will be responsible for reaching out to all existing and new vergers on a periodic basis with the intention of growing MEG Chapter membership.  The MEG Chapter Verger Roster is owned solely by the MEG Chapter Board of Directors (BOD).  The roster is not for personal use in any manner. If a copy is requested, the request must be submitted in writing to the Chairperson.  The MEG BOD will review the request and vote on its merits.  Under no circumstances is the official roster to be used for solicitation or to be sold.
 
4-3 Election of Board Officers

4-3-1 Election of board officers shall take place at the annual business meeting as defined in section 6-1 in even numbered years.  Board officers shall hold office for two (2) years. 

4-3-2 Prior to the annual meeting, the Board shall propose a slate of nominees to be presented at the meeting, including the name of the current Vice Chair as the proposed new Chair..  Nominations from the floor shall also be accepted at the meeting subject to the consent of the candidate. 

4-3-3  All candidates must be Chapter Members (see per Article V 5.2.2)—paid members. 

4-3-4  Voting for each office shall be carried out separately, and the candidate receiving the largest number of votes shall be elected and shall take office at the end of the meeting at which they were elected.. 

4-4 Members at Large - Appointed Board Members

4-4-1 Members-at-large may be appointed by the Chair of the Board and may act as chairs of committees for specified functions, such as membership special projects, bylaws, displays, etc. 

4-4-2 The number and spheres of responsibility of the members-at-large shall be determined from time to time by the Board. 

4-4-3   No more than three (3) members-at- large may be appointed by the Chair at any time, but shall hold office, and be voting members of the Board, only until the next annual business meeting or until the completion of their assigned duties, whichever is earlier.  

4-5 Vacancies:

4-5-1 Vacancies in the position of any officer shall be filled by election at the next annual, special, or mid-year business meeting. 

4-5-2 Vacancies may be filled temporarily by the Chair as necessary to ensure the continuity of the duties of that position but such appointments must be ratified at the next meeting of the Chapter.

ARTICLE V - MEMBERSHIP

  5-1 Membership: All vergers in the Diocese are automatically members of the Chapter and can attend and participate in meetings, take advantage of training, materials, fellowship, etc.  Payment of dues is required to be eligible to vote. 

5-2  Types of Membership: There shall be the four types of membership: 

5-2-1 Members are those vergers serving in the Diocese of Atlanta. 

5-2-2 Chapter Members are those Atlanta Diocese Vergers who have paid their dues to the Chapter. 

5-2-3 Associate Members are those Vergers from outside of the Diocese of Atlanta who have paid the dues to the Chapter. 

5-2-4 Honorary Members are those persons who have been selected by the Board for recognition for their service to the Chapter, particularly retired Vergers, or members of the Clergy.  They shall pay no dues and shall not have voting rights.   

5-3  Dues and Records

5-3-1  Membership dues shall be set by the Board from time to time and membership shall be for one year from the payment of dues.

 5-3-2  Dues shall be: billed,  received by and accounted for by the Treasurer. 

5-3-3  A roster of Members shall be maintained by the Communications Membership Chair .

ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS

Meetings should be set up with thoughtfulness of the membership. Consideration should be given to holding one meeting within the Atlanta Metro Area and one to be hosted by a parish outside the Atlanta Metro Area.

6-1  Annual Business Meeting: The annual business meeting shall normally be held in June mid-year of each calendar year at a parish within the Diocese of Atlanta that has extended an invitation to host the meeting. and which is convenient to as many members as maybe possible.

6-2 Acolyte Festival:  The Chapter is committed to supporting the acolyte festival sponsored by the Liturgical Commission of the Diocese of Atlanta in even-numbered years.

6-3  Special Meetings

6-3-1 A special business meeting of the Chapter may be called by the Board or by written notice from not less than thirty percent of the paid members. 

6-3-2 Written notice of such a meeting shall be given at least three weeks prior to the meeting and shall include full details of the reason for the meeting. 

6-3-3 Only those matters contained in the written notice shall be considered at a special business meeting. 

 6-4 Conduct of Business

6-4-1 The term “written notice” shall include transmission by U.S. mail, by e-mail, or publication in the Chapter newsletter to all Vergers on the Official Verger Roster.

6-4-2 All Chapter meetings shall be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order as a reference.

6-5 Mid-Year Business Meeting: Called an “Assembly”, will be held once a year.  At a parish within the Diocese of Atlanta or an Episcopal gathering place which is convenient to as many members as possible.

ARTICLE VII – BYLAWS AMENDMENTS

Amendments to these bylaws shall be by majority vote of those Chapter members in attendance at the annual business meeting and shall be effective at that time unless otherwise stated.  Any such proposed amendments shall be published on the Chapter web site and in the newsletter at least two months prior to the meeting at which they are presented for a vote.  In that notice, members shall be advised of the opportunity to provide written comments or questions to the Chair during that time frame.
 
Original Adopted June 12, 2010
Proposal as approved January 17, 2015 (clarification 1-19-15)
Amendment approved June 4, 2016
Proposed updates March 8, 2019

Looking forward to seeing everyone on May 11!!

Summer Assembly 2018

Verger Atlanta
IMG_0424.JPG

Vergers from the Diocese of Atlanta pause for a photo at their July 7, 2018, Summer Assembly at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville.  The Rev. Canon Richard Callaway is center and The Rev. Dr. Stuart Higginbotham to his left is Rector of Grace Episcopal. Attending Vergers bought items in support of Family Promise of Hall County.  The baskets of items were presented during the Offertory.  Photo: Bill Monk

 

The Gathering:

The Mark Emory Graham Chapter of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church met for its Summer Assembly during a gorgeous summer day on July 7, 2018, in Gainesville, Georgia.  We were hosted by Grace Episcopal Church and we were treated to tasty breakfast pastries, juice, coffee, and tea.  We were afforded an opportunity to visit with old friends and make new friends.  Twenty-eight vergers, clergy, and guests participated in the gathering.

Photo Credits: Bill Monk; Photo Arrangement: Kay AnderSon      More details on the Summer Assembly 2018 will be posted soon...

Photo Credits: Bill Monk; Photo Arrangement: Kay AnderSon

More details on the Summer Assembly 2018 will be posted soon...

Winter Assembly 2018

Verger Atlanta
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.

 

29th Annual VGEC Conference a Huge Success

Verger Atlanta

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

Verger Atlanta

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

Verger Atlanta

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