Maryann Amor and Shelly King were ordained to the diaconate by the Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander on November 4, 2019, Feast day of the Old Testament Saints, at All Saints' Anglican Cathedral, Edmonton.
In the Gospel of John (13: 1-17), read by the Rev. Dr. Joanne Neal, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (the symbolic act of a deacon and the calling of every Christian), and tells them: ‘So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.’
The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Episcopal Commissary, gave the Homily address and asked members of the congregation to recall a time they have been presented with the opportunity to wash Jesus’ feet. “Did you choose accept, or walk away from the invitation?” she asked.
She compared the role of the deacon in the church and the world to “scratchy underwear”– that won’t allow the wearer to get comfortable because it causes nagging discomfort.
“The point of the discomfort is to get you, as an individual and the Church as the Body of Christ, to respond to the pain and injustice that abounds in this world,” she said. “Such action is not an optional extra for Christians, let alone deacons. Jesus repeatedly teaches that caring for others is essential to discipleship.”
As baptised Christians, we care called to works of mercy, Bishop Victoria said. As the congregation heard in Colossians (3: 12-17), we are also to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience….And let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed we were called in the one body.”
To reflect Christ’s presence in the world Jesus died to save, deacons must abide in Christ through prayer, and study of scripture and the sacraments, said Bishop Victoria turning her attention to Maryann and Shelly.
“Your diaconate is about calling the whole Body of Christ to service that is born of deep communion with Christ,” she said. “It is teaching the Church to deeply abide in Christ and then to show them how to wash feet, the feet of the last, the lost and the lonely, the very feet that belong to none other than our Saviour Christ.”
Friends, family, and colleagues witnessed the presentation of Maryann Amor for ordination by the Ven. Richard King, Donna Harker, and Harriet Campbell; and Shelly King by the Rev. Canon Maureen Crerar and Noreen and Doug Soneff.
Leading the examination of the candidates, Bishop Jane told Amor and King of their special calling to the ministry of servanthood, and their role to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by their word and example, to those among whom you live and work and worship. “You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns and hopes of the world,” she said.
Together the congregation prayed the Ordination Litany, led by the Rev. John Gee, and the new deacons were vested with a stole and dalmatic. Bishop Jane presented deacons Maryann and Shelly with a Bible and the congregation welcomed them with joyous applause.