Brittany Sparrow Savage and Ryan Williams are two of our newest transitional deacons, ordained in January this year. Read on to learn more about their unique paths to ministry, their faith journeys, and the roles they now serve in the Church.
Deacon Brittany Sparrow Savage
I grew up in North Carolina with my triplet brother and sister in a parsonage home. At an early age, I sensed God’s calling on my life, but I struggled with conceptualizing what it would look like to be a woman in ministry. I was blessed with supportive parents and a small group of clergywomen who mentored and encouraged me throughout my youth.
I attended Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. A few weeks after graduating college, Cameron and I got married, and a week later, we moved to Kansas City so that I could attend Nazarene Theological Seminary. Throughout my higher educational experience, the Holy Spirit relentlessly challenged me about the blind spots of my “mother” denomination. Toward the end of my time at seminary, I decided that the Church of the Nazarene could no longer be my spiritual home.
Through a google search and the advice of a friend, Cameron and I stumbled upon St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. We fell into the loving arms of a community that nurtured us in our faith and confirmation. St. Augustine’s would sponsor me in my discernment process and support me as I became the children’s coordinator at Grace and Holy Trinity. Shortly after graduating from Seminary, I attended Bishop Kemper School for Ministry for a wonderful and formative year of Anglican Studies. I am joyfully assigned as a transitional deacon at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Cameron and I enjoy living in the big blue building in Brookside with our two pet rabbits, Ms. Bun Bun and Simba. If you ever find yourself on the Trolley Trail, keep an eye out for us; we spend our leisure time going for long walks.
Deacon Ryan Williams
I came to the transitional diaconate and The Episcopal Church in a rather roundabout way. I was raised Southern Baptist, and have a number of Baptist ministers in my lineage. Sometime around high school I felt a call to ministry. Pursuing this call I attended a Southern Baptist University where my theological education and spiritual growth introduced me to the Book of Common Prayer as well as Anglican spiritualty and thought. My Baptist professors share both thanks and blame for planting the seeds that would send me to the Episcopal Church!
My growing awareness of historic Christianity, along with my newfound interest in Anglican spiritual practice directed me to seek out an ecumenical seminary where I could drink from the many streams of Christian thought and tradition. This led me to Duke Divinity School where I was able to experiment with both my Baptist heritage and the Episcopal Way as I learned from faculty and classmates from the full spectrum of Christianity on the way to earning my Master of Divinity.
As I wrapped my time in seminary I was ordained a Baptist minister, and I served for a time as pastor of a small Baptist church in southern Virginia. This was a time of great growth and humility as I learned to care for and shepherd a congregation with all of its unique personality traits and passions.
A number of factors led my family back to Missouri, and soon upon our return to our home state my wife and I realized that we felt more at home in the Episcopal church than the Baptist church. We soon found a home in the welcoming community of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Bolivar, Misouri. While participating in the life of St. Alban’s I began to further discern my call to ministry and the priesthood, all the while working in Student Development at my Southern Baptist Alma Mater. In the spring of 2021 I, a Baptist minister, who attended a Methodist seminary, and currently employed at a Southern Baptist university applied for postulancy in the Episcopal Church. I hope, that whatever I am accused of in my life and ministry I am at least labeled as a Christian with a heart for ecumenism.
Since that time I have attended Bishop Kemper School of Ministry for a year to supplement my seminary education, and I am now serving as transitional deacon at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Missouri with Fr. Ron Keel, where I have once again found a kind and welcoming community gracious enough to allow me to continue to learn and grow in my calling and ministry.
I look forward to serving this diocese as deacon for the season ahead as I continue to learn and grow in my journey toward the Sacred Order of Presbyters. I am grateful for the grace of Christ, the loved ones who surround and support me, and the diverse experiences that have prepared me in due time for the role and responsibilities of priesthood in this one beloved branch of the Body of Christ.
If you would like an overview of the ordination process in West Missouri, please read this article.