A lay minister who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshaling of processions. Vergers may be full-time or part-time, paid or volunteer. The history of the verger dates back to the middle ages when the verger was the "Protector of the Procession." He would lead the way, making room for the procession to enter the church from the town square, and with his virge (mace) in hand would literally clear the way if necessary. The basic vestment of the verger is a black cassock. The ministry of vergers is supported and encouraged by the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church.