Ordination April 17, 2021
On Saturday, April 17th the Episcopal Missionary Church Diocese of the East practiced the Ancient Sacred Ways of welcoming, ordaining and commissioning servants of Jesus Christ and His Church into the EMC fellowship. I am constantly in awe and reverence of how faithful our Almighty God has been, currently is, and will continue to be in bringing such dedicated, qualified, and committed harvest workers to the whiten fields.
Christ Church Warrenton was full as we participated in the Ancient Sacred Ways all to the Glory of the Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We had folks there from various other traditions of the faith that commented on sensing the Manifest Presence of the Almighty God in the Worship Service of setting apart to the holy and divine purposes of sacrificial service to Christ and His Church. Truly, it was a most graced moment!
We welcomed into our clergy fellowship Fr. Emmanuel Saidi, Ph.D. a former Roman Catholic Priest who currently serves at the Director – Department of Spiritual Care/CPE Educator, Supervisor/Medical Ethics Consultation Committee Member at MedStar Washington Medical Center. He received his theological training at St. Anthony Major Seminary, Malawi, Central Africa and at Boston College/Weston Jesuit School of Theology. He currently holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling and Thanatology and a Ph.D. in Healthcare Ethics.
Fr. Saidi will be one of the assisting priests at Christ Church Warrenton. He will also be assisting the Episcopal Missionary Church with our endeavors in the area of Clinical Pastoral Education. What an absolute joy and delight to welcome this precious humble brother in Christ to the Almighty God’s purposes and plans for the EMC.
We also ordained Daniel F. Lees to the Diaconate. He was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church. After training at the University of Pittsburg in the Criminal Justice program, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served on active duty for 13 years. After the Navy, Dan worked as a police officer, and later went back to college to become an Electrical Engineer and Program Manager for several large government contractors.
Dan comes to us from the Methodist Church where he served for 35 years and received his theological and ministry training. Deacon Dan is a treasure that has been given by the Almighty God to our fellowship. His teaching and preaching gifts are very noteworthy with the heart of a shepherd. He will serve in various ministry capacities at Christ Church Warrenton and in the various missions associated with this parish.
At the Sacred Service, we ordained Walter Russell (Russ) Dameron to the Priesthood. He received his theological training at Oklahoma Christian University with graduate work done at Eastern New Mexico University in Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology.
Fr. Russ was raised in the non-instrumental Churches of Christ. H served in full-time ministry in multiple congregations in Churches of Christ and in the Independent Christian Church. He also served as a pastor in an interdenominational Bible Church for a number of years. He and his wife, Deaconess Glenna Dameron, Ph.D., embraced Anglicanism in 1979 and became founding members of a number of Anglican missions and parishes.
Fr. Russ’ exegetical teaching and writing skills are a blessing of instruction, edification, and exhortation. He will assist as supply clergy for the diocese with the eye to establish an EMC parish in the Shenandoah Valley.
The Almighty God’s favor upon us was also in evidence in the commissioning of Joanne Beck Craft to Deaconess – Lay Reader. Deaconess Joanne has been heavily involved in Episcopal Church activities as a child and teenager and her family helped in the planting of Saint Peter’s Church in Norfolk and Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Springfield.
She with her husband Fr. Jim Craft supported the planting of two churches, Christ the Redeemer in Centreville, and Church of the Holy Spirit in Leesburg. Deaconess Joanne served in ministry at Truro Episcopal Church and was one of the worship leaders at Christ the Redeemer Church.
Currently, she and Fr. Jim have planted the Great Commission Anglican Church, in Bealeton, Virginia. Deaconess Joanne is a servant’s servant. Her gentle and loving spirit is apparent to all. Her life is truly characterized by a “basin and a towel.” What an absolute joy to commission her as a deaconess in the Episcopal Missionary Church.
Needless to say, it was a glorious day of practicing the Ancient Holy Sacred Ways of His Church. I received an email from a brother in Christ from another tradition of the faith who noted, “My dearest brother in Christ, what I witnessed today was taking me back to what the early church must have been like according to the Book of Acts. I have never witnessed such koinonia and genuine affection of the brethren as I witnessed today. Whatever you guys are doing keep doing it and please share it with the rest of us!”
I have taken the liberty of including the homily teaching for this service taken from Philippians 2:5-11 entitled, “Have the Mind of Christ Active in You!
His servant and yours,