On Friday, October 11, 2019, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Nevada hosted the ordination of Melissa Roberts George to the Sacred Order of Deacons.Melissa Roberts George Three-minute read. Resources
To say I love to learn is an understatement. I love school. I love life, and I love learning about people and the diversity of God’s creation in their stories. “Disciple” in Latin means “learner.” I am a constant learner in Christ.
I graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas with a history degree and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia with a Masters in Theological Studies, emphasis in pastoral care. The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. St. Scholastic in Atchison, Kansas continued my formation with training in spiritual direction and ascetical theology. I learned to read Latin and appreciate the great rules of Western Monasticism during a stint in graduate medieval studies at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. I also have nine units of Clinical Pastoral Education from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, and St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri.
My teacher dad and librarian mum definitely deserve credit for my love of learning and service to God, but from a very young age, God inspired me with an insatiable curiosity. I bombarded my childhood priest with questions about the nature of the universe and all things liturgical as well as hand-drawn pictures illustrating the same. It was an exquisite joy to have him, the Rev. Richard McCandless of the Diocese of Kansas, present me for ordination to the transitional diaconate nearly thirty-five years later.
For the last fifteen years, I’ve served as a health care chaplain, currently at Mercy Hospitals Joplin and Carthage. Chaplaincy is an ever-changing, vibrant ministry that enhances my ability to love and serve God daily. The good folks of All Saints, Nevada have supported my husband Mark and me throughout my ministry of hospice and hospital ministry as well as my ordination process. I must also thank the faithful and enthusiastic community of Bishop Kemper School of Ministry in Topeka, Kansas, where I completed my canonical requirements for ordination and our diocesan Hispanic missioner, the Rev. Jose Palma, for a summer of worship, mentoring, and humble pie as I struggled to preach, worship and share life in Spanish. I am thrilled to spend my transitional diaconate with the Rev. Frank Sierra and St. Philip’s, Joplin, where my formation and education continues. Exploring my call to ordination would never have been possible without our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Martin Field. His wisdom, honesty, compassion, and choices in where he has assigned me have truly challenged me and molded me in Christ’s image and likeness.
One of my earliest memories of Church is receiving communion with the Worker Sisters of the Holy Spirit, an Anglican Benedictine order when I was barely tall enough to reach across the communion rail. Surrounded by the Sisters in their red habits, I first experienced the Holy Spirit in the warm and holiness of community. As a healthcare chaplain, I endeavor to create a sacred space with those I serve, that they, too, might experience the warmth and holiness of God through conversation, compassion, and prayer. As a transitional deacon and future priest, I’m now learning how to fully embrace God’s warmth and holiness in the ministry of Word and Sacraments.
My patients over the years have taught me to “have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). I enjoy hiking, gardening, reading, traveling, spending time with family, friends, and our very spoiled cat Tiberius, and concocting new recipes from my husband Mark’s hot pepper garden. I endeavor to live my life to the fullest, as the gift it is from God.