For the first time, St. Mary’s Anglican Church has ordained a deacon.
On June 29, Anna Sproul pledged her faithfulness to that calling, to serve in the church and “to look for Christ in all others, being ready to help and serve those in need”.
This ordination also marks a team approach to ministry within the wider parish that St. Mary’s Anglican Church serves, which includes Melita, Reston, and Elkhorn.
Virden’s historic stone church was crowded on Wednesday evening, June 29.
The occasion also marked the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
Priest of St. Mary’s, the Venerable Don Bernhardt (recently appointed Archdeacon of Brandon Diocese), welcomed people from throughout the parish and fellow clergy from the diocese.
Ordinant was the visiting Rt. Rev’d William G Cliff, Bishop of Brandon, who said this would be his first ordination to perform.
Presenting the candidate, The Venerable Grahme Spear, Marjorie Andrew, Keith Wadham, Alanna Sproule and Jana Sproule.
In his message, Venerable Don Bernhardt, (Father Don) stated, “A deacon is to serve the people.”
This role is to “assist the priest in public worship, the administration of God’s Word and Sacraments.” He explained, “A deacon is not a lesser order....”
Father Don was clearly pleased to have a deacon on staff.
“I am so excited now that our team includes a deacon, because again, there’s work to be done in this community. There’s work to be done in all the other communities, that a deacon can do every bit as good, if not, in a lot of cases, better than a priest can.”
This rural parish is one of the first to embrace the idea of team ministry - a team including Lay Readers in the wider parish of Melita, Reston, Elkhorn and Virden.
Father Don stated, “Hopefully, if we can do it right, it will become the model that every other parish in the diocese will adopt.”
In an interview in the moments following her investiture, newly titled Rev’d Anna Sproul called her ordination “wonderful”. She explained that she had first sensed the clear calling to ordination two years ago.