Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only Start Doing

Deacon-in-Training Sally Gunn Reports

Dear Friends in Christ,

It’s hard to believe this September marks the ninth month that I have been here at St. James’s training as a deacon.  The time has seemed to go by incredibly fast to me so far and continues to be that way as I update you on my progress.  It is an amazing journey, especially to be here with each one of you.  Everyone , and I seriously mean everyone, is so kind and generous in helping me to reach the place that I believe lives in my heart, and what God wants me to be in my service for Him…..becoming an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church.

The Deacon Ordination will probably be sometime in April.  Specific date and place are being worked on by the diocese.  But much has to be accomplished before that event can occur for me and for my classmates.  This past summer I had three huge interviews within the Diocese of Virginia.  One interview was with the Committee on the Diaconate who fully recommended me to the next level of interviewing with the Standing Committee.  They also fully recommended me to the Bishop of Virginia.  First, I met with Bishop Susan Goff who was a wonderful delight to be with, and who also submitted my name to Bishop Shannon Johnston for final approval.   A few weeks ago, I received a written letter from him acknowledging my position now as a Candidate for ordination as a vocational deacon.  I am so excited and feel such gladness.

All this being said, school work has been continuous for twenty-one  months now, and there are four months of school left for our small class which will be filled with projects, tons of reading, writing, and thinking, ordination exams sometime in November, and finally a two year oral and visual presentation of all of our work.  Each of us will present our Capstone Projects  to our class, our teachers, and our families on January 17.  The schoolwork is challenging and highly demanding, but I am truly passionate about all of it.  I am very blessed to have a wonderful opportunity to learn from the dean of the school and from her staff of parish priests, including a bishop.  They come from Maine to North Carolina, and each is gifted in certain teaching areas.

I am also very blessed to have the Rev. Randy Hollerith as my mentoring priest.  I am learning so much from him, from his staff, and from you.  My Lay Advisory Committee here at St. James’s is a great group of supportive and insightful people whom I depend on a lot for congregational insights.  Several of you have visited or will soon visit the women’s prison that I volunteer in as a bible study facilitator.  And one of you is now coming regularly on Thursdays with me and is offering to some offenders the opportunity to learn the skill of creative writing.

I have also just learned that I will be with you all until at least April, 2016.  I am very happy about this extension of time so that I can expand my knowledge of the process of community building of a healthy vibrant church.  It will also give me MORE time to work on remembering peoples’ names.  You will see me doing a lot of things in church services that I have not experienced yet and can’t wait for these opportunities to occur as they will unfold at appropriate times.

Many blessings and thanks to each of you as I continue on my journey.  If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions for me, please feel completely free to approach me.  I am looking forward to our times together.

Faithfully Yours In Christ,

Sally Gunn

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