The Ordinations of Joseph Pierjok and James Yazell to the Diaconate

Photographs: Donna Field and Chris Morrison five-minute read.   Resources
The ordinations into the Diaconate of James Yazell and Joseph Pierjok at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral on March 24, 2019. Image credit: Chris Morrison

On the afternoon of Sunday March 24, 2018, Joseph Pierjok and James Yazell were ordained into the Diaconate at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City, Missouri.

The ordinations of into the Diaconate of James Yazell and Joseph Pierjok at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral on March 24, 2019. Image credit: Chris Morrison

The Rev. Joe Pierjok

The ordinations into the Transitional Diaconate of James Yazell and Joseph Pierjok at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral on March 24, 2019. Image credit: Donna Field

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. My family would tell you that I have always had a calling to the priesthood since a very young age. Perhaps it was because all my sister wanted was for me to be a puppy or a baby Jesus while my mother was pregnant with me, or how I used to play priest in my bedroom forcing my sister and pets to attend daily mass. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and was very active until after my confirmation when I felt that the Roman Church was no longer my home. It was my senior year of High School when my best friend invited me to Sunday school at Good Shepard to meet a girl, that I was first introduced to the Episcopal Church. I quickly felt the Holy Ghost calling me home, and I’ve been an Episcopalian ever since.

I attended Rockhurst University in downtown Kansas City where I obtained my bachelors in Education, History, and Theology. Following my college years, I ran two restaurants in Parkville, Missouri and was hired as the Youth Pastor at Redeemer Episcopal Church. It was during my years as a Youth Pastor that the youth of this diocese and the wonderful adult volunteers solidified my calling to serve as a priest. The thanks and love that I have for the youth program of this diocese is boundless. I also owe a huge amount of gratitude to Fr. Joe Behen and the wonderful people of Redeemer Episcopal Church who discerned deeply with me, loved and prayed with me every step of the way on this journey that God has called me on. I love you all so very deeply!

I attended, what I believe to be, the greatest seminary in our Episcopal Church, Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. This was my first experience of living outside of Kansas City, and I never thought I would live in Texas, but I am so glad that God called me there. I completed my Master’s of Divinity in May of 2019 and have been called to serve at Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage, Missouri. I started my work there on June 1st. The people of Grace Church have been nothing short of incredible. I am humbled and grateful to have been called to such a wonderful place! I look forward to growing, learning, and serving alongside them for many years to come! Fr. Steve Wilson is a beloved rector and I thank God everyday for Fr. Steve’s ministry and mentorship that he provides to not only me, but to an entire city!

God willing and the people consenting my ordination to the priesthood is scheduled for October 12th, 2019 at 2p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage, Missouri.

It’s good to be back in the greatest diocese in the Episcopal Church and I look forward to what God has in store for all of us!

The Rev. James Yazell

About to deliver the dismissal — The Rev. James Yazell (left) and The Rev. Joseph Pierjok. Image credit: Donna Field

Ever since discovering the Episcopal Church in High School there was something about the priest’s work at the altar that I found immensely compelling. As someone who was not raised in a sacramental tradition, I was really drawn to that close proximity to the sacraments. Yet, even with that vision it was difficult for me to settle on pursuing that call. Throughout college I found myself constantly grasping at other vocations and careers, everything from Geology to Urban Planning. While there was something within all those fields I found interesting and fulfilling I always found this itch in the back of my mind drawing me back to the priesthood. Finally, I realized that God was not going to stop nudging me in that direction and so I declared a Philosophy major at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and began the official discernment process after graduating.

The first seminary my wife, Kelsey, and I visited was the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and we knew right away that God was calling us there. The residential seminary model was made all the more powerful on the top of that “holy mountain,” the Cumberland Plateau. From that mountain top we were able to dedicate the next three years of our life to living in a close knit community guided by the monastic model of daily prayer, study, and work.

That experience was incredibly formative and was truly confirming in my sense of call to the vocation of the priesthood. As I look forward to beginning my ministry as the Cleric-in-Charge at St. James Episcopal Church in Shreveport, Louisiana I am grateful that God has entrusted me with the cure of souls and that I had the opportunity to prepare for that privilege and responsibility on the holy mountain.

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Gary Allman

Gary Allman is the Director of Communications at The Diocese of West Missouri

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