Ryan Zavacky is the third of our latest transitional deacons ordained in January this year. Read on to learn more about his path to ministry, faith journey, and how deacon Ryan is serving the Church.
While I felt called to ordained ministry before my baptism in college at St. John’s Episcopal in Alma, Michigan in 2013, my time as a Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) Missionary in Grahamstown, South Africa where I lived with the Order of Holy Cross made me truly understand my call. South Africa was where I learned what it means to be a servant, to love, and the transformational power of God.
Having had such a powerful experience though, it took some time back in the US to deeply understand this calling and my time in South Africa. In the waiting period, I worked as a Campus Ministry Intern with the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas for the Canterbury House in Lawrence, Kansas. After my time with the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, I moved to Liberty, Missouri where I worked for William Jewell College. After befriending Kathryn and Dan Spicer while I lived in Lawrence, I started going to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church once I moved to the Kansas City metro area. At St. Andrew’s, I assisted with starting a 20’s 30’s group and started serving at HJ’s Community Center as a Barista.
In 2019, I felt like I should finally start the process to fulfill my call, and started the discernment process with St. Andrew’s. As I started applying to seminaries in March 2020, the pandemic started and prevented me from visiting any them. With numerous Zoom calls with friends around the country who attended seminary, I decided to go to The General Theological Seminary.
While I love my time at General, it has been a challenge as the school has gone through numerous institutional changes during my three years.
One of my favorite aspects of my time at General has been the opportunity to serve the Church with the Presiding Bishop’s Office in the Global Partnerships Office. I am working with YASC, the program that sent me to South Africa, and our UN Office. My time with the Presiding Bishop’s Office has been an immense gift to understand what it means to serve the church and is helping me understand my diaconal vows of bringing the Church to the world and the world to the Church.
I give thanks to God for everyone who has been a part of this journey with me. I look forward to see what else God has in store! Peace!
If you would like an overview of the ordination process in West Missouri, please read this article.