The Ministry of the Parish Verger
A Verger is a person within the Church who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship. The Verger serves as the Minister of Ceremonies for liturgies – organizing processions, making sure people get where they need to be, and generally helping to insure that services are smoothly run with minimal distractions for the congregation.
In addition, the Verger is responsible for training and organizing acolytes, lay readers, and chalice bearers. The role is especially important for large and/or complex liturgies such as Holy Week, Easter, Christmas, and other special services.
The Office of Verger dates back to the Middle Ages when the Verger was the “Protector of the Procession.” He led the procession into the church or cathedral, clearing the way for the procession and protecting it from vagabonds and animals that tried to attack it.
Today, in many parishes and cathedrals you will see a Verger ceremonially leading the Procession. The Verger wears a gown and carries a Virge (staff of office) to help clear the way, and point the way for the procession.
Our Parish Verger, Tom Daley, was officially installed in August of 2010. While Tom had been functioning in this capacity for a number of years we decided to formalize his role as a key liturgical lay leader in this parish through this ministry. We see Tom’s installation as Parish Verger as a symbol of the importance of lay ministry at the altar and in worship.
Worshipping “in the beauty of holiness” takes much planning and many hands and the cathedral-style liturgy of St. John’s requires care and attention to detail. It is a blessing to us all that that Tom has agreed to serve in this capacity.