The Rev. Rebecca Harris was ordained an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Edmonton on March 25, 2020, the Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As was expected, the ordination was performed by Bishop Jane Alexander at All Saints' Cathedral. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, only a small group including Rebecca’s husband Ian and daughter Misty and friends Ken and Patti Holmstrom, all careful to stand at least two meters apart, could be present for the ceremony.
Yet, through the wonders of digital technology and video equipment set up by the Very Rev. Alex Meek in the Cathedral chancel, the service was livestreamed to members of Harris’s parish of Holy Trinity Riverbend, Edmonton, where she serves as interim priest-in-charge, and to her daughter Wendy, at her home in Edson.
“It was not at all what I expected, but everything I could ever want,” says Harris of her ordination to the priesthood. “It was intimate and solemn, yet joyous and filled with love... I was surprised at my emotional reaction when I was pronounced a priest. God’s grace and love was very present in that moment.”
Harris says this service was an odd contrast to her ordination to the diaconate three years ago at a time when the concept of social distancing was relatively unheard of, let alone common practice. She remembers the large number of clergy, friends and parishioners who attended, filling the Cathedral with jubilant song.
“My second ordination was rather unusual, but it was beautiful in every way. Thanks be to God,” she says.
You can read about Harris’s unconventional faith journey, which began with an unexpected encounter with a stranger on a Hawaiian beach, in the May issue of The Messenger.