I have been head server at St Mary’s now for three years, and in the middle of the last year, under the sponsorship of our Rector Fr Trevor, I joined the CofE Guild of Vergers, and was officially appointed the Verger for St Mary’s by the PCC.
Through the last year we have continued to develop the idea of the serving community covering the altar serving, sides people, sound & media and eucharistic minister roles. We have conducted training and cross group overviews across the community and have managed to return all of our serving activities back to how they were before the pandemic lockdowns, including an offertory collection within the main 9:30am service.
As a team, we continue to have gaps across all of our roles, and the search for additional support continues to be slow, so sometimes it is difficult to maintain support in services. However, people across the community have always stepped up at short notice, so I would like to thank them all here for their continued assistance and support.
One area that has bucked the trend in numbers has been acolytes where our small team or two or three is now five and is hopefully going to expand to seven or more. This could mean that we will be able to have acolytes at more than one service per month, although there is no intention for acolytes to be returning for every service. We are also looking to include some of the older acolytes in supporting other altar serving roles, with one of the acolyte team already helping at our Maundy Thursday service in Holy Week.
In January a couple of the Altar Servers attended a special festival at Southwark Cathedral for the Diocesan Guild of servers. It was a very inclusive and uplifting day that was well attended by servers from many churches across the Diocese. Due to the popularity of the day, these events will be continuing, and we will be enrolling all of our Altar servers, including our acolytes, into the guild.
As we move into the new year, we will need to continue with our role-based training and refreshers for the server community as well as our safeguarding requirements for different duties during services. We will also continue to look at the ways the serving community can better work together to support all forms of church services.
As this church year ends, we have a well established serving community that we hope to expand and develop over the coming year.
Verger, St Mary’s Caterham