Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Acolytes and Vergers


Acolytes are young laypersons, girls and boys, who assist worship by carrying crosses, torches, the Gospel book, or banners, by assisting the clergy in the preparation of the table, and by providing incense at special services.  They participate and help lead worship, without calling attention to themselves.

All young people from seventh through twelfth grades are invited and encouraged to join the acolyte corps. Over 60 acolytes give Holy Comforter one of the largest and most dedicated groups of acolytes in the diocese. Acolytes are trained, organized and supervised by the Vergers, and serve on one of seven teams which rotate duties among the services each year.

Younger acolytes may start by carrying torches and the Dove Cross. Later they will learn to carry the Gospel, participate in the Gospel procession, and to carry the first or second cross. Juniors and seniors in high school assume leadership positions in their teams, assisting the clergy setting the table for the Eucharist, and learning to use incense in special services.

Note: All public, in-person worship services and church-sponsored gatherings are canceled until further notice. Learn more.

Please stay tuned as we reimagine our programming during COVID-19. If you have questions about Acolytes and Vergers, please contact June Harper.

Recruitment Letter for the 2019–2020 school year provides information for registration and training dates. New teams are formed in June but new acolytes are invited to join at any time.

Questions? Contact June Harper or ask any Verger on Sunday mornings.


Originating in England in the 16th Century, vergers are more common now in larger Episcopal churches as lay assistants to the rector and clergy. Vergers are committed lay people who assist the clergy in the conduct of public worship, particularly in the ordering and marshaling of processions. Vergers are selected by and serve at the pleasure of the Rector.

The primary functions of vergers at Holy Comforter are:
1. to recruit, train and organize the large acolyte corps;
2. to order the processions – processional, recessional and gospel procession; and
3. to assist the clergy in any way possible to allow them to focus on the Word and the Sacraments.

For more background about vergers, visit the website of the Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church.