The ministry of verger is ancient and means "he or she who carries the Virge before the procession." The ‘Virge’ is the staff and in olden days was used to ensure that processions were not impeded during worship. This was an important duty in the Middle Ages and, on important festivals, two vergers were on duty. Their duties have developed over the centuries, and now combine tasks which were often carried out by other individuals.
Vergers at All Saints' have a ceremonial role and they have a variety of duties, including behind-the-scenes coordination of worship, which frees the clergy and laity to focus on their duties in worship leadership. While this ministry may seem just ceremonial, it derived like many traditions from necessity. They make the ceremony flow smoothly.
Vergers at All Saints' are appointed by the Rector and serve at his direction. They are dedicated and well trained and they are sensitive to the widely varying needs of both members and guests, as they come into contact with a wide range of people. As such, they serve as ambassadors.
At 8:50 and 10:50 a.m. worship services at All Saints’, when the procession begins, you will see a person carrying a staff leading the cross and torches. This is a verger.
A verger is responsible for overseeing the preparation before worship, assisting during worship, and helping at the end of worship services. Much of the verger’s work goes unnoticed, but the reward comes from the honor of being able to serve our parish behind the scenes and at the altar so that all of us may enjoy worship that is beautiful and appropriate.
All Saints’ has sponsored this ministry since it was introduced to the parish in 1995. Today, All Saints' has eleven vergers who rotate serving at the 4:00 p.m. Saturday service and the 7:30 a.m., 8:50 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Sunday services, as well as special occasions. At our large services we use two vergers and at our very large services, like Easter and Christmas, we sometimes use three vergers.
If you aspire to become a verger, you have to first serve as a lector and, after that, as a subdeacon at the altar. Vergers must be able to serve at any time at any position in the worship leadership of the laity. Once this training is finished, then you could start training as a verger. You would then continue to serve as long as you desired and as long as you were effective and loyal.
A former Baptist, Cheryl started attending All Saints' in 1983. She is married to Matthew, who owns Century Signs, has two children and eight grandchildren. She is a past Lay Eucharistic Visitor, Stephen's Minister, Sunday School and Children’s Church teacher, served on many councils and committees. Currently she is the Clerk of the Vestry, Lay Eucharistic Minister Warden, Wedding Coordinator, Altar Guild member, Worship Council Leader and a Verger. She is also the Vice President and Membership Chairman of the 2,500 member Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church. She has attended the Parish Academy since its inception.
Bill is a native Lakelander and a lifelong Episcopalian. He is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Civil Engineering, Bill has worked in the fertilizer and chemical industry where he has utilized his professional engineering license and now works in his family company. Bill met his wife Kathy at Clemson and they have three sons, Bill III, Christopher and John. They have five grandchildren, Kelsey, Lindsey, Chloe, Kylie and Colbin. Bill has served on the Vestry, as the Acolyte Master and a LEM. He currently serves as a Verger and Co-Chairman of the Worship Council. He served as the Clerk of the Vestry from 2016-2018.
Stuart is a cradle Episcopalian. He was baptized at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota and served as an acolyte starting at the age of eight. In 1980 his family moved to Lakeland and they attended All Saints’ where he also served as an acolyte, attended New Beginnings and Happening weekends. During his years as a youth he went on skiing and snorkeling trips with the youth group. Stuart attended his confirmation classes at All Saints’ and was confirmed at The Cathedral by Bishop Folwell.
Stuart married Wendy Dow in 1989. They were Fr. Al’s first marriage. The Dows’ have three children, Makenzie and twin boys Jaret and Thomas. They were baptized at All Saints’, and Makenzie was confirmed at All Saints’. Stuart has been a service technician and is employed by Jenkins Lincoln. He enjoys running in his spare time with friends from his church family.
Stuart has served and continues to serve in many capacities at All Saints’: Steward, Vestry, Verger, Subdeacon, Chalice Bearer, Sacristan, Parish Academy classes, and Parent classes. He also participated in the first Discovery Weekend and Promise Keepers. He served as captain of a breakfast team, participates in the Walking and Running Club, and was part of the original shuttle ministry. He also keeps the golf cart running.
Tom has a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from Auburn University. He was raised through the Catholic Church by his parents and became Episcopalian when he married Laura more than 20 years ago. In 2001 Tom and Laura moved to the Lakeland area and made All Saints' Episcopal Church their home. Tom has served as a Sunday school teacher, Vestry Member (2006-2008), Jr. Warden (2007-2008), Building Committee Chairman (2011-2012) and Treasurer (2016).
One of the requirements of the new class of vergers was to find ways to “plug-in” to All Saints’. As you can see from her bio, Everis has a long history with All Saints’ with her newest chapter becoming the Lector Warden starting in 2016. Everis Fairchild has been a member of All Saints’ since 2001. She has served as a steward, lector, and altar server. Everis was member of the Music Council and had a stint as the Summer Music Program Coordinator. She has also served on the Vestry and was Senior Warden in 2014. Everis was commissioned as a Verger on All Saints’ Day 2015. In 2003, she became the Accounting Director of All Saints’. In 2004, Everis served as interim Communications Director until July of that year when she became the Church Administrator. She held the Administrator position until 2010 when she decided to stay home with her children. Everis has been married to Ben, her high school sweetheart, since 2002 when they were married at All Saints’. Everis and Ben have two children: Ryan and Lindsey. Everis is currently the Senior Warden and Lector Warden of All Saints'.
Suzanne graduated from Florida State University with a BS in Interior Design. Suzanne started attending All Saints’ in 1983, and she was confirmed a few years later. Following confirmation, Suzanne became active in several ministries to include: Directress of Junior Daughters of the King, Altar Guild, Wedding Coordinator, Vestry, Chair of Worship Council, Lay Eucharistic Minister which lead to becoming a Verger. Suzanne proudly has nine godchildren and feels quite strongly about her dedication to each and every one of them!
Larry was baptized in the Anglican church in Nova Scotia, moved to Lakeland at the age of 5 growing up and being confirmed at All Saints. He has served as an acolyte attaining the rank of Master Acolyte, then moving to Lector, Chalice Bearer, Subdeacon, Master of Ceremonies and Lay Eucharistic Minister. He has served on the Vestry including a stint as Junior Warden and as a member of the Diocesan Committee on Cursillo for several years.
He has seen and been a part of numerous changes at All Saints' both in remodeling and service modifications. Larry was installed as a Verger on November 5, 2017.
Patrick is a lifelong Episcopalian. He was confirmed as a teenager at his hometown church, Holy Trinity Church, Vicksburg, Ms. He and his wife, Stacey, joined All Saints’ after moving to Lakeland in late 1990’s.
He began altar service as a Chalice Bearer over 10 years ago and became a Verger in 2012. He’s also served on the Vestry, Youth and Outreach Councils. He and his wife, Stacey, currently serve as the Acolyte Wardens.
Stacey was confirmed as an Episcopalian after marrying Patrick in 1986.Their family started attending All Saints' after they moved to Lakeland in the late 1990's. They have two grown children who served as acolytes and junior vergers. She has enjoyed serving at the altar and became a Fellow of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church in 2013. She has served on the vestry as Clerk of the Vestry and several other committees and currently teaches First Holy Communion classes in the fall. Patrick and Stacey currently serve as Acolyte Wardens. They are also part of an award winning, A Taste of All Saints' people's choice award cook team.
Jesus has been a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church since 2002. Jesus is married to Heather Walker Torres, who has been a member all of her life. They have three beautiful girls, Kaycee, Annalyse, and Billie. He also served on the Vestry from 2010-2012. Jesus is currently the Steward Captain for his Steward Team, backs-up as an alternate for the Shuttle Cart, and is a "Fellow" Verger. He participates in the Parish Academy classes, the All Saints’ Sunday and Wednesday Parent classes. Jesus continues his walk with Christ with daily devotionals, prayer, and Bible study.