Oct 06, 2022Meet West Missouri’s latest deacons

Meet West Missouri’s latest deacons

The Rev. Deacons Vicky Anderson, Adam James, and Barbara Wegener with the Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce. Ordinations to the Diaconate. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City. October 1, 2022. Image credit: Mary Ann Teschan

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, Vicky Anderson, Adam James, and Barbara Wegener were ordained into the Sacred Order of Deacons at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri. Read on to find out a little bit about their respective journeys of faith. You can see their ordination pictures here, and a video of the service here.

The Rev. Deacon Vicky Anderson with the Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce. Ordinations to the Diaconate. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City. October 1, 2022. Image credit: Mary Ann Teschan

The Rev. Deacon Vicky Anderson

I am a Kansas City native, home of incredible BBQ and Chiefs football! I was raised in Raytown and have lived all my life in the metro area. I remember feeling a strong sense of call as a very young child. I knew I needed to serve others. I went into nursing believing that would satisfy my sense of calling, and for a time it did. As an adult though, I realized that being a nurse, working in critical care and then surgery, wasn’t enough, it wasn’t the place where God wanted me.

As a young adult I had been unchurched for several years. In the early 2000’s I began feeling a strong nudge, actually more like a serious spiritual shove, to get back in church. In researching churches that were inclusive, we found The Episcopal Church. We showed up at St. Michael’s in Independence, Missouri on an Easter Sunday, and stayed. We had found a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church! I became a Parish Nurse, working with the congregation on issues related to living a healthier life, and was part St. Michael’s Daughters of the King chapter as a charter member. Later, I found myself needing to move out to the far southern part of the metro area, so I transferred to St. Mary Magdalene’s in Belton. At Mary Mag’s we started a new chapter of Daughters of the King, and after one meeting my deacon asked me, “have you ever considered being a deacon?” I was thunderstruck!

That question started a long process of prayerful discernment, education at Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM), Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) as Saint Luke’s, and a diaconal internship at St. Michael’s, coming full circle. In the midst of all this COVID-19 struck and we all struggled to find ways to remain in community. Yet, God was in this process and kept moving in my life, and in the lives of us all. I graduated BKSM in 2021, completed CPE in the middle of the COVID Delta variant surges in April 2022, and completed my diaconal internship at St. Michael’s on September 25, 2022. I was ordained a deacon on October 1, 2022, and served my first Sunday at Trinity, Independence on October 2, 2022.

The Rev. Deacon Adam James with the Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce. Ordinations to the Diaconate. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City. October 1, 2022. Image credit: Mary Ann Teschan

The Rev. Deacon Adam James

I am a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri. I was brought to my faith in the Roman Catholic Church, baptized at St. Peter’s Catholic Parish in Kansas City by my mother’s family priest, Fr. Norman Rotert. My parents sent me to St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School for my elementary education. There, under Fr. Murray Trelease’s guidance, I recall my curiosity about who Jesus was and the meanings behind the prayers, hymns, and the Apostle’s Creed as we attended morning chapel services. On Sundays, I attended Sunday school services at Visitation Catholic Parish with my grandfather, Mario Trozzolo, my first big supporter in growing my faith. He used to tell me that one day I would be a doctor, a lawyer, or a pastor!

While attending Park University, studying communications and public relations, I learned of the devastating news of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon, and my interests instantaneously changed. I needed to serve my country and people in need. Shortly after the terrorist attacks, I signed up for the next Kansas City Fire Academy cadet class. I left college and became a professional firefighter and emergency medical technician, following in my father’s footsteps to save and protect the lives of our city. I served the KCFD for fifteen years. During this time, I was assigned as a firefighter downtown, serving at Fire Station 8 and then on the city’s east side at Fire Station 39. Additionally, I served as a labor union business agent for the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 42. There, I represented members of our various metro-area fire departments, ambulance districts, and Jackson County prosecuting attorneys in all matters related to their collectively bargained contract and served in providing public relations to the local media.

In 2014, after my wife, Kimberly, and I emotionally and economically suffered from the effects of infertility struggles, we downsized our lives. We moved to the more affordable Waldo neighborhood in south Kansas City. What we realized with our grief was a new life, one that was focused on community. We both joined various civic organizations and fraternities. Ultimately, while we were looking for a neighborhood church, St. Andrew’s had just begun construction on the new HJ’s Youth and Community Center. This attention-catching action in the heart of Brookside recaptured my curiosity in returning to the prayers, hymns, and the Jesus I became curious about in my youth. Kimberly and I attended our first service at St. Andrew’s on Christmas Eve of 2018. After that “homecoming,” I quickly volunteered to serve complimentary coffee to the neighborhood at HJ’s Café. That decision to act in hospitality, along with the aid of St. Andrew’s clergy, helped me realize that my Diakonia (pouring out of oneself) was strong, and it was time to discern my calling to ordained life earnestly.

During the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, I began my formation education through virtual classes at Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM). My cohort quickly learned how to connect through Zoom in our monthly courses, praxis, and especially our colloquium. During my second year, after a rich experience with a summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Saint Luke’s Health System, which gave me real-world experience as a pastoral presence. I found strong interest in the many conversations between the classes, in the parking lots, and at the garden benches around BKSM’s home at Grace Cathedral in Topeka, Kansas – reaffirming my calling to become a vocational deacon.

On Saturday, October 1, after a beautiful and spirit-filled summer interning at St. Peter & All Saints in South Kansas City, God made real my Call as the Holy Spirit filled the nave of St. Andrew’s. I was ordained a Deacon in God’s Church by the grace-filled hands of Bishop Diane. I am grateful for the many positive and powerful mentors that have come alongside me in The Diocese of West Missouri, St. Andrew’s, St. Peter & All Saints parishes, and the Saint Luke’s Health System. Now, my work begins as I look to improve the spiritual wellness of our area’s first responders and frontline responders, as well as discerning opportunities for the Church to improve the resources and safety of people who experience homelessness in the Brookside and south Kansas City neighborhoods.

The Rev. Deacon Barbara Wegener

The Rev. Deacon Barbara Wegener with the Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce. Ordinations to the Diaconate. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City. October 1, 2022. Image credit: Mary Ann Teschan

I am what I believe has come to be a rare occurrence, a cradle Episcopalian. My mother was born and raised in Liverpool, England, and met my father when he was stationed there during World War II. My mother attended The Church of England, and although we moved often since my father was in the Air Force, my mother always located the local Episcopal Church.

As a child I was always drawn to the peace of the liturgy. I was baptized at Holy Apostles in Satellite Beach, Florida and I sang in the Children’s Choir at Zion Episcopal in Rome, New York. It was there where I asked to serve on the altar but was told only boys could serve as acolytes! After moving to the Kansas City area, I was confirmed by Bishop Welles at St. Peter & All Saints in 1971 (St. Peter’s at the time). When my father retired, we settled in Raytown and became members of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where I remained a member. My three sons were baptized and confirmed at St. Matthew’s as well.

I began to feel God nudging me in my late twenties and thirties, but told myself I was misinterpreting the message, thinking it was egotism on my part. It was also during this time that St. Mathew’s Priest, Fr. Robert Hutcherson began to suggest the Diaconate to me. Parishioners began to ask when I was going to become a deacon. Why would the Lord want me, a divorced, confused, sinner? I continued to serve in many roles, Sunday School teacher, Choir member, Vestry Member, assisted with Vacation Bible School, serving as a Convention Delegate, Lector, and Worship Commission Chair, but the nudging and suggestions to me would not go away, getting stronger over the years.

I had always enjoyed my chosen career working for the Federal Government in the field of Human Resources, which I did for over 40 years. However, when I took a position in Employee and Labor Relations, my calling became clear as I discovered I had a completely different approach to the work. Rather than cause harm to the broken through discipline/removal, I was called and did all I could to assist the broken.

I began the discernment process in 2019 and retired in May of that year. After being nominated by St. Matthew’s discernment committee and recommended by the Commission on Ministry, I was named a Postulant by Bishop Marty Field in June 2020. I began classes at Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM) that year and graduated in May 2022. BKSM is an extraordinary gathering of God’s faithful people which I highly recommend. Although the entire first year of classes were online due to COVID-19, a strong faith community was created through prayer and a supportive environment.

Through the continued support of St. Matthew’s and their new Priest in Charge, I was privileged to be assigned to St. Andrew’s for my internship, serving under the loving tutelage of Archdeacon Bruce Bower and Fr. John Spicer. My continuing education includes Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE at the Saint Luke’s Hospital System.

I am honored to serve as a Deacon in the heart of Kansas City at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. With God’s help, and in addition to parish ministry, I hope to collaborate with the community of deacons in the diocese to address the needs of the community that we all share, the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.

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