VergersA verger, usually a layperson, assists in the ordering of religious services, particularly in Anglican churches.
Ascension has three vergers; Carle Howell, Lynn Neill and Linda Bowen.
The Office of the Verger has its roots in the early days of the Church of England's history. The Order shares certain similarities with the former Minor Orders of Porter and Acolyte. Historically Vergers were responsible for the order and upkeep of the house of worship, including the caring for church buildings, furnishings, and sacred relics, making preparations for liturgy, ensuring proper conduct of the laity, and digging graves.. Although there is no definitive historical examination of the Office of Verger, evidence oints to the existence of Vergers even in the twelfth century. Koster is the Dutch word for sexton or verger, derived from the Latin custos (the equivalent German word is "Küster"). The symbol of a Guild of Cathedral vergers is the Crossed keys.
During the service itself, a verger's main ceremonial duty is to precede the religious participants as they move about the church; he or she does not typically take any speaking part in the service itself. Though it could be argued that a verger's main pride during a service lies in his or her inconspicuousness, vergers often play a very prominent role "behind the scenes" — helping to plan the logistical details of service and discreetly shepherding the clergy through it.
The office's title comes from the ceremonial rod which a verger carries, a virge (from the Latin virga, branch, staff or rod; see virgule). The Maces of State used in the House of Lords and the House of Commons of the British Parliament are examples of another modern use of the medieval virge. In former times, a verger might have needed to use his virge to keep back animals or an overenthusiastic crowd from the personage he was escorting or even to discipline unruly choristers. For better or worse, the verger's rod is no longer used for disciplinary purposes.