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Vergers: The Concierge Desk of the Episcopal Church

The two-thousand members of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church received an unprecedented honor at their annual conference last weekend—a visit from the Presiding Bishop.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, traveled to Atlanta to join the vergers, presiding and preaching at Holy Eucharist and then offering a keynote address on the ministry of the verger.

Photo courtesy of  Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church

“He kind of coined the phrase that vergers are the concierge desk of the Episcopal Church,” said Trinity Church Wall Street Head Sacristan Scott Smith, “by which he meant that vergers were the center of welcome when people come to a church for the first time.”

Smith is president of the Vergers’ Guild and noted that attendance at the annual conference has tripled in less than ten years.

Scott Smith with three past presidents of the Verger's Guild, David Jette, Margaret McLarty, and William Hooper Gleason, at The Cathedral of St. Philip.

Most vergers are volunteers and work in all sizes of parishes, freeing clergy from routine, organizational, and mundane duties so they can focus on pastoral and sacramental responsibilities.

Smith says that, for his fellow vergers, it’s a labor of love and fits in perfectly with what Bishop Curry likes to call “the Jesus movement” in the Episcopal Church.

Photo courtesy of  Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church

“We’re called to have a ministry of service and hospitality to witness to Christ’s love and Christ’s compassion in the world,” Smith said.

“The question is how do we actually live that out?”

Watch Bishop Curry’s sermon to the 29th Annual Conference of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church.