Five ordained to Order of Deacons on December 7

On Saturday, December 7, five men and women were made into deacons at the hands of the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus in the semi-annual ordination service at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. Between 40 and 50 clergy — including approximately 20 deacons — participated in the procession, and the deacons had a role of very close inspection — drawing near to the bishop and ordinand during the laying on of hands.

The Rt. Rev. Dean Wolfe, bishop of Kansas, was the guest preacher. Decades ago he began his ordained ministry in the Diocese of California. Having been ordained in Grace Cathedral he had always wanted to preach in the cathedral, and Bishop Andrus offered him the chance. Bishop Wolfe preached on the role of the deacon and highlighted the servitude and humility of the diaconate by sharing some times that he has failed to show that humility himself — and been taken to task for it.

One of Wolfe’s points was that in The Episcopal Church ordinands do not start entirely new ministries upon their ordinations, but continue work they have already begun, more greatly empowered with new gifts from the Holy Spirit. An example of the work DioCal’s new deacons embrace follows.

Kirsten Snow Spalding is currently living in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina where she is working on a book of theological reflections on the presence of God with God’s people as they create community in post-war (post-genocide) Bosnia. She and her family returned to the United States just for the ordination.

Julia McCray-Goldsmith is a name familiar to the diocese as she serves as Ministry Development Officer and Working Group Head for Discipleship Ministries. She states, “That mouthful means  I am committed to equipping Episcopalians for authentic and joyful ministries in everything from Sunday school to vestry leadership.” Bilingual in Spanish and English, McCray-Goldsmith was sponsored by La Santisima Trinidad, Richmond.

Dan Burner responds deeply to the social justice ethos of The Episcopal Church and believes that for us to be the Body of Christ in the world, we must show our love for all people. He first felt called to ordained ministry as a senior in high school, but ignored the call for twenty years. He said that he is very thankful for how supportive his daughters and their families have been through his discernment process. He said that he was, “particularly happy that this ordination includes both vocational and transitional deacons. It was a rewarding experience to spend time with all of them at the retreat and to reflect on each person’s journey and path.”

God willing and the people consenting Kirsten, Julia, and Dan will be ordained priests in the future, possibly as soon as June.

Although the canons of the church and the Book of Common Prayer only have one rite for ordaining deacons, the diaconal vocation is lived out in a variety of ways. In addition to three transitional deacons, two vocational deacons were ordained on Saturday.

Susan Foster Napoliello was ordained deacon after first seeing how the Rev. Nina Pickerell serves her diaconal life at Bayview Mission. When talking about her call she says, “My early experiences of moving and trying to fit in have not only tuned my awareness to who is not being included, but to the importance of making sure that all of God’s family is invited to the banquet

.” Susan’s story is one of discernment happening in community; after some time with various ministries a parishioner at St. Peter’s, San Francisco, her sponsoring congregation, suggested she consider diaconal ordination. She has been and continues to be involved in jail ministry, feeding programs, hospital chaplaincy, and program facilitation for seniors. She currently serves the Trinity+St. Peter’s community as a pastoral assistant and co-chair of the Service and Mission Committee.

Marcus Crim grew up in a church without deacons but feels as though he has been specifically made for the work of a deacon, a feeling he came to know through knowing deacons. He says, “I have always taken my Baptismal vows very seriously and have strived to seek and serve Christ in all.” He has fed the homeless from his own kitchen and worked with underage male prostitutes, but understands particular work as part of his call saying, “Not all people are called to work with homeless people or young prostitutes. There are ministries as varied as there are different individuals. Part of the role of a deacon is to work with people to discern their call to minister in the world.”

On Saturday all in attendance made a vow to uphold these persons in their new ministries as deacons, and these five individuals made audacious promises about how they will live their lives and lead the church. Hold them in your prayers and listen for their calls to be at service in the world.

If you think you might be called to the diaconate or priesthood, information about discernment for ordained ministry is available here.

photos: the Rev. Sam Dessórdi Leite

Each ordinand receives a certificate of ordination and a Bible with a note from Bishop Marc.

Clergy waiting to process up the completed Great Stairs to Grace Catheral

The Cathedral Camerata sang at the ordinations and led the clergy in the procession.

The cathedral clergy, ordinands, and their sponsors followed the bishop’s banner.

Candidates for ordination are vested in albs as a sign that ordained ministry stems from baptism.

Ordinands must sign, in sight of the bishop and assembly, a declaration of conformity.

The Rev. Vicki Gray, assisted by the Rev. Doe Yates, proclaimed the gospel.

The Rt. Rev. Dean Wolfe, bishop of Kansas, preached at the ordination service.

Deacons looked on as Bishop Marc prayed the prayer of consecration for the new deacons.

After the laying on of hands, the new deacons were vested in dalmatics and deacon’s stoles.

The Rev. Kirsten Snow Spalding received her Bible “as a sign of her authority.”

The new deacons were greeted with thunderous applause by the crowd.

The new vocational deacons — the Rev. Marcus Crim and the Rev. Susan Napoliello — assisted the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus during Eucharist.

The clergy of the diocese processed out of the cathedral with the newly ordained at the end of the procession.