The “Welcome to Atlanta” presentation and invitation to the 29th Annual Conference was a highlight of the Annual VGEC Conference in Spokane. The event will be hosted by the MEG Chapter on October 12-15, 2017 in Atlanta.
There was a brief introduction before we presented the “Welcome to Atlanta” video; and, when the applause subsided, we reviewed the key elements of our agenda. We were a hit! Our video presentation was very effective. After the Conference, Scott Smith, President of the National Vergers’ Guild, advised in an e-mail “I was absolutely blown away with the video and the presentation that you guys did!”
The seven Atlanta Vergers and two spouses were the largest delegation from any Diocese save that of the host Diocese of Spokane. Our presence magnified our support of the Annual Conference and visually demonstrated the importance of attending the Conference in Atlanta.
The MEG Chapter Commissioned a two-page promotional flyer to be included in the registration packets. This flyer will also be distributed to all of the delegates attending Annual Council in November.
Throughout the Conference we staffed a display table in the Spokane Guild Shop Room promoting the Atlanta Conference. Proudly displayed were our attractive Host Logo Banner on a beautiful banner stand along with Atlanta Tourist information brochures and pens and pencils for all. These items were courtesy of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB).
Other meeting highlights included a wonderful pasta dinner prepared by the women of the Cathedral of St. John’s and a glorious Choral Evensong led by the Cathedral Choir. Friday began with breakfast and morning prayer followed by a number of workshops and a tour of the Cathedral.
Friday’s highpoint was the Keynote Address by The Right Reverend Katherine Jefferts Schori. She was introduced as “Pretty darned Reverend,” since she is now the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, when she was titled “The Most Reverend.” She led the Vergers in an exploration of some important themes of our ministry- ordering, removing barriers, and bending.
Ordered freedom is the basis of all life. Ordered freedom fairly well describes our Prayer Book and Liturgy and is a pretty good goal for most of our Christian ministries. Ordered freedom usually requires the use of some type of container, of either physical or mental construct.
A lengthy description of containers probed the values and pitfalls of some barriers created by containment. Think of a garden curbing keeping out the weeds, but also limiting growth of the plants within. Some critical barriers to leadership are ego, habit, and fear
Verger, the very name we choose, based on the Latin word for a green stick or branch, implies flexibility. Think not only of adaptability at the last possible moment on Sunday morning to allow a young acolyte to participate, but even deeper, think of our need to bend, to incline our wills to that of the divine.
The Vergers from Atlanta found the Bishop to be warm, engaging, and inspirational. Her address and subsequent conversation at the Sunday forum were intellectual home runs!
Saturday also began with breakfast and morning prayer. The Annual Business Meeting and election of VGEC officers was conducted by Scott Smith, President. Atlanta received a choice spot on the agenda for our presentation and invitation. While folks were still talking about the excitement of going to Atlanta, we boarded buses for Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for a scenic cruise of Lake Coeur d’Alene. After we returned to our Spokane hotels, we quickly dressed for the Verger Banquet and Fellow Recognition presentation.
Sunday began with a Bishop’s Forum where Bishop Katharine responded for an hour to intelligent, challenging questions from the Vergers assembled. Eucharist began with over 130 vested Vergers escorting the Clergy of the Cathedral and Bishop Katharine in a grand presentation of full Episcopal “smells and bells” tradition. Bishop Katharine preached. At the conclusion of this exhilarating service all vergers gathered for the Official Conference Photo, which is now posted on the VGEC Web Site Home Page. We said our goodbyes to everyone by saying “Hope to see y’all in ATLANTA in 2017!”
* * * * *
More on the Spokane Conference
Atlanta Conference Promotional Flyer is posted on the MEG Chapter Web Site. The “Welcome to Atlanta” video will be posted shortly.
Photographs and videos of the entire Spokane Conference are available on the VGEC web site www.vergers.org. You do not need to be a member of VGEC to access the photos and videos.