Colin gets church life honour in Norwich service
2009: Colin Websdell, Churchwarden in the Parish of Earlham, has been awarded life membership of the Church of England Guild of Vergers in a special ceremony at St George's, Tombland in Norwich.
The Revd Canon John Minns, Chaplain to the Guild of Vergers in the Diocese of Norwich said, "Colin Websdell is a generous man, who has overcome his disabilities and accomplished much in so many walks of life. He first became a verger in the early 1960s at St Chad 's, Lichfield. He is currently churchwarden at St Mary's Earlham .
"Included in his many other voluntary roles are verger at St Anne's Earlham, BUILD at Princes St United Reformed Church, and a volunteer at The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. In all of this he is supported by his wife, Barbara. This is a most worthy honour to a man of loyalty, great courage and perseverance. "
The Office of Verger (also known as Virger, Custos, Sub-Sacrist, Serjeant of the Vestry, or even 'Church Mouse') is an ancient one and means 'He who carries the Virge before the procession'. The 'Verge' is the rod of office and was used to ensure that the many processions were not impeded during worship. This was an important duty in the Middle Ages, and on important festivals there would be two Vergers on duty.
Today, Vergers continue to have an important ceremonial role, but add management responsibilities, with the care of people and a variety of other duties , including the behind-the-scenes management of worship and the care of vestments, plate and other valuable objects.
Over 50 people witnessed the service, which was part of the Communion Service, led by the Branch Chaplain, the Revd Canon John Minns. It started with a procession of vergers, drawn from Head Office, Michael Golby who had the Millenium Virge, Peter Callan of the host church led the actual procession with the St. Georges Virge and it was completed by Matthew Kemsley, deputy verger of St.Edmundsbury Cathedral who is Area Leader. Also in procession was the candidate Colin and John Barker as Chairman of the Branch.
After the service, tributes were presented to Colin who has devoted his life to service in the church and community.
Pictured above: Colin Websdell receives his award from Canon John Minns (Photo: Ian Coldicott)