Kenneth James Alton of Smithers has been ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Alton was ordained in a sacred ceremony presided over by the Right Reverend David Lehmann, Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia and assisted by the Very Reverend S. Paul Williams, Dean of Caledonia at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Prince Rupert June 11.
It was the first time in more than 10 years the diocese celebrated the ordination of a new deacon.
It was also Lehmann’s first ordination since becoming bishop almost five years ago, and it has taken this long for someone to come up the ranks for such an occasion to occur, he said, adding it is an exciting time.
Alton has been working on his certificate from the Vancouver School of Theology, as well as training for years in various programs.
“It’s special. It’s been a long slow process for him and he is ready to take on the ministry,” Lehmann said. “As he concludes his studies he will then be ordained to the priesthood. It’s a natural part and progression of his journey toward life in the parish and diocese.”
Alton will be based in Smithers and will take over the ministry at St. James Anglican Church.
The deacon role Alton has answered the call to take on works under the bishop, hence the ordination was held in the cathedral in Prince Rupert because that is where Lehmann is based.
Lehmann explained there are two types of deacons in the Anglican church. The first, the type Alton will be, is a transitional deacon, which is a serving ministry progressing to the role of priest and potentially bishop.
“The reason we ordained people to be deacons first is to remind them they’re always a servant,” Lehmann said
The second is a vocational deacon who serves within the life of the community in specific ministry roles, such as school or prison chaplains. The type will always remain a deacon.
“It’s the kind of ministry where they bring the church to the world, and the world to the church,” he said.
The Bishop presides over the 25 churches in the diocese running along Highway 16 to Alberta, up to the Yukon and down to Squamish.