Sunday, May 12, 2013

Verger ‘like a master of ceremonies’ in church

From New Mexico-

As the procession enters The Church of the Holy Faith on a typical Sunday morning, it seems to be a conventional high-church Episcopal ritual.

You’ve got your acolytes with the large cross and candles; you’ve got your choir; you’ve got your priests – but who’s that fellow out in front? The one dressed in a medieval-looking getup holding a stick out in front of him?

That’s the verger.

“He (or she) is kind of like a master of ceremonies,” said verger Marshall Binns. A recent immigrant to Santa Fe from Oklahoma, Binns is a qualified verger and has volunteered his services to Holy Faith, the historic church on East Palace Avenue. He leads the processional and later accompanies the head acolyte and priest from the altar to the middle of the aisle when the Gospel is read. He leads everybody out at the end of the service. During the service, he sits in a special seat in the stalls that has been outfitted with a brass holder for his stick. He does not say anything.

Binns was a longtime verger at the Diocesan St. Paul’s Cathedral in his native Oklahoma City. In a conversation about a year ago, he mentioned the fact to the rector of Holy Faith, Father Ken Semon, who said he’d like to have a verger himself. When Binns and his partner David Beatty retired to Santa Fe in November, Semon suggested Binns study the smaller Holy Faith Church and review the “customaries,” the way the services are ordered. Binns debuted as the Holy Faith verger in March.

“He’s just been fabulous,” Semon said. “I think he gives an additional dignity to the service.”

More here-

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