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Understanding Episcopal Relief and Development:

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Our Church Building
by Chuck Berry

St Paul’s Messenger has been offering history information about our church – about both the building and the people. We finished the review of the 27 priests who have led St Paul’s. In the last 20 years, we have also been involved in one-way or another in “raising up” Deacons.

A deacon exercises “a special ministry of servant hood,” especially serving those in need. In the early church, deacons were ordained “not to the priesthood but to the servant hood of the bishop” [diakonia means "ministry;" diakonos meant an intermediary who acted or spoke for a superior].

The liturgical functions of deacons have suggested the activity of angels. Deacons proclaim the gospel, lead intercessions, and wait at the Eucharistic table. In preparing the table for the Great Thanksgiving, the Deacon draws the congregation’s attention from the pulpit to the altar. In South Dakota, a Deacon is given permission to distribute the Sacrament.

Ordination of a Deacon begins with the “process of discernment” that is dominated by discussions with their congregation, clergy and friends, after which the congregation formally nominates the candidate. If the Bishop approves, the Deacon begins a candidacy period of study and training. The Standing Committee certifies that these steps have been taken and recommends the candidate to the Bishop for ordination.

Deacons can be ordained as a permanent vocation, or as a transitional deacon, a preliminary step toward priesthood.

Deacon Judy Peterson served as our Vocational Deacon– well, not our deacon because Deacons work for the Bishop. Judy and Pete arrived in Brookings in 1981, joined St Paul’s, and Judy served St Paul’s in various capacities including Senior Warden. She was ordained at the Cathedral in Sioux Falls on Easter 2003.

Judy was assigned to help the Episcopal Church in Madison, but also helped the United Church of Christ and one Lutheran Church (Estelline). Judy says that her job was to “bring the needs of the world to the church.”

Every time Judy opened her Prayer Book, she would think of Bridget Moore because Bridget passed the book on to Judy. Bridget and Don were strong members of St Paul’s in the 1990s. Bridget was a transitional deacon; ordained at the Cathedral in November 1992. She served Grace church in Madison and St. Stephens in De Smet. She also helped St Paul’s at a time when we did not have a Priest, and took a Deacon’s distribution service to nursing homes on Wednesdays and visited homebound folks in Brookings, Madison and De Smet.

Bridget and her husband, Don, moved to Sequim, Washington, where she filled a number of positions at St Luke’s in the Diocese of Olympia.  Both Bridget and Don are deceased.

The Hall’s – Steven and Karen – also figure into St Paul’s deacon history. Steven was a “transitional” Deacon when he came to St Paul’s but was soon ordained as our fifth Rector, serving from 1982 – 1987.

Karen Hall was ordained Deacon in Brookings in April 1996 and ordained Priest (first female in SD) at St John’s Madison. Karen became Priest-in-charge at DeSmet, Flandreau, and Madison, and later was the Clergy Deployment Officer for the Diocese. She helped us with the search that found Fr. Ryan Hall in 2008, and is now retired and living in Montana.