Summer Assembly 2017
25th Anniversary Celebration of
the Mark Emory Graham Chapter
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.
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 Faith. Faith, 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:
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.
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, 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.
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:
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.