November 18, 2017

  

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Verger

The Verger's Prayer

Almighty Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth is named,
who has called us into the fellowship of your Church, grant, we pray, that in all our churches we may fulfill the duties and enjoy the privileges of our spiritual homes. And on those who offer themselves for service as vergers in the house of God bestow the fullness of your grace, that, united in love to you, and to one another, we may show forth your glory and hasten the coming of Your Kingdom, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

 

The Church of England established the office of verger in the 16th century. The office's title comes from the ceremonial rod which a verger carries, a virge (from the Latin virga, branch, staff or rod), as he led processions into church. Historically a verger served as a bodyguard for the clergy and used his virge to clear the procession's path of animals or unruly people.

Vergers today still perform ceremonial functions such as leading processions and welcoming churchgoers. The verger in many churches is in charge of the acolytes. He sees to it that they know their duties, and keeps track of their vestments and paraphernalia. During the service itself, a verger's main duty is ceremonially to precede the religious participants as they move about the church; they do not typically take any speaking part in the service itself. It could be argued that a verger's main pride during a service lies in their inconspicuousness; vergers often play a very prominent role "behind the scenes" — helping to plan the logistical details of service and discreetly shepherding the participants through it.