On Friday, November 1st, All Saints’ Day, Erin Richards and Paul Zaharia were ordained as Transitional Deacons by the Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota. They had been working and studying for this ministry for about two years. They are called “Transitional” deacons because, following long tradition in the Church, they are serving as Deacons on their way to being ordained as priests.
The role of a deacon is to stand at the threshold of the Church: interpreting the needs of the World for the Church, and inviting the Church to use its gifts in Christ’s name to serve and welcome people who need help. Deacons Erin and Paul will do certain things during our liturgy that reflect this understanding of their role: they will read the Gospel; they will set the Table for our sacramental meal, the Holy Eucharist; and they will dismiss us into the world at the end of our worship.
Both will continue to work full time in their respective careers. Both will serve in the liturgy on Sunday morning and during the week. Both will be involved in outreach and pastoral care at All Saints’ Church. Paul will continue to work with people recovering in the aftermath of Minot’s 2011 flood. Erin will represent All Saints’ Church at the Welcome Table, an organization of faith-based ministries doing outreach in our community.
This is an exciting time in the life of our Church. Please keep Deacons Erin and Paul in your prayers, that their ministry will lead our congregation to new and exciting places while remaining faithful to the work to which God has already called us!