At the recommendation of General Synod, the Church of England Guild of Vergers formulated a correspondence-based training course, to cover the work and ministry of the Verger. The Diploma Course, open only to full members of the Guild and is formulated in Two Stages, comprising four units:
The First Stage is the Foundation Unit, which comprises presently of Sixteen Assignments, covering preparation for worship, care of buildings, records and archives, care of the churchyard, and care of the people of God. Upon the successful completion of the Unit, the Guild’s Foundation Certificate will be awarded, and presented to the student usually at the gathering of the Guild Congregation during the succeeding Training Conference. Students, upon the successful completion of stage one, are encouraged to undertake more challenging training by completing the second stage of the course.
Stage Two comprises the remaining Three Units:
- The Verger as Pastor Unit consists of Twelve Assignments covering personal development, the verger’s relationship with the people of God, their care for others, and for resources.
- The Verger as Historian Unit consists of Eighteen Assignments covering the history of church building, architecture, history of worship, and the function of a congregation.
- The Verger as Administrator Unit consists of Sixteen Assignments covering communication, forms and registers, the structures of the Church of England, and the role and importance of people in the life of the Church.
Attendance at the Annual Training Conference
Students who proceed to the Second Stage of the Course are expected to attend at least one four-day, residential Training Conference, which is held annually, usually during the summer.
Application Forms to start each of the Units may be obtained from the Training Registrar.
Upon enrolment, students should seek a tutor/mentor, who may be the verger’s own priest, chaplain or another verger. It is the duty of the tutor to guide and work with the student throughout the period of study. The whole course is designed to last for four years but this may be extended by the National Chaplain/Chairman of the Assessors or Training Officer, for mitigating circumstances.
Students are encouraged to present their coursework in the same manner as it was received, that is using the blue binding clips. This allows work to be inserted at the correct places making assessment that much easier. Assessors are looking for concise answers that answer the question, show understanding of the topic, and its application to the life and work of the verger.
Units should not be submitted as finished, without the full knowledge and agreement of the tutor. Both student and tutor should initial the back page of each completed Unit, which should then be forwarded to the Training Administrator, who will remove any identification before forwarding the coursework to the appropriate Assessor. If possible, students should always keep a duplicate copy of their work, before the original is dispatched to the Training Registrar.
Each Unit is marked by both an External, and Internal Assessor, and the mark classification agreed.
Students who complete the Foundation Unit successfully will be advised of the result, and a certificate presented at the gathering of the Guild Congregation during the succeeding Training Conference.
Students who complete Stage Two Units, Pastor, Historian, and Administrator, may, on rare occasions, be called for a viva voce examination to take place at a time and venue to be agreed with the student.
Students & Tutors
Students should meet with their tutor/mentor every three months, and in addition, each student should have a ‘local’ mentor with whom they can have more frequent contact. It is recommended that for the Pastor Unit in particular, where the student is considering his/her own spiritual life and faith, that the services of a Spiritual Director are sought. This person may be a priest or someone trained specifically for the role. If difficulty is encountered in finding an appropriate person, many dioceses have a list of people trained and willing to act in this capacity.
The Guild Training Team
The Training Officer (Chairman)
The Training Administrator
The National Chaplain
The General Secretary
Plus two members with Parish/Cathedral experience, appointed by CentralCouncil
Students should approach their Dean and Chapter, PCC or other appropriate authority for assistance with fees for the Diploma Course (reviewed regularly but £50 per Unit as from 1 January 2020), and for assistance with funding for attending the Training Conference. Students who may, nevertheless, find the cost of attending Conference a problem, wish to know that the Guild has bursary fund (as do some local Branches) set up particularly to enable students’ attendance. All applications are treated in the strictest confidence, and should be made via the National Chaplain. Money for the bursary comes from the Bishops’ annual grants, for which generosity and support the Guild is most grateful.
The Guild will award a Diploma to students who complete the whole course successfully. Diplomas and the Guild’s academic hood are usually presented at the gathering of the Guild Congregation during the Training Conference. In addition, students may thereafter use the post-nominal letters, Dip.GV.
Training Officer: Les Mitchelmore
Training Administrator: Susan Ansell, Dip GV