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Paynesville Press - May 7, 2003

Local woman ordained a deacon

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Doris Dodds, of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons last week and earned the title of reverend.

Doris Dodds in front of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church As a deacon in the churches that make up the Spirit of the Heartland – St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Paynesville, Our Saviour's Episcopal Church in Little Falls, and Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Sauk Centre – her primary duties will involve acting as a bridge between the community and the church, she said. For instance, if she believes a congregation member is in need, she will notify church leaders so it can respond to that need.

As a member of a total ministry team, Dodds has been training for over three years. Last October, she was commissioned as a total ministry team member, and in six more months she should be ordained as a priest sacrimentalist.

Because many small churches can no longer afford to pay a full-time seminary-trained priest, the Episcopal Church turned to total ministry, a concept where all of the baptized members of the church assume many of the duties of the priest. Locally-ordained priests will assume the duties of preachers, counselors, and liturgists and will be able to perform weddings and baptisms.

Doris Dodds in her new robes and stole outside of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Paynesville.

In this case, the team will minister to the three churches that make up Spirit of the Heartland.

The ministry team works under the supervision and mentorship of a seminary-trained priest, Reverend Pat Gillispie.

One challenge Dodds faces in her new role of deacon is getting to know the parishioners from all three churches.

Dodds was ordained last week during a ceremony at the Good Samaratin Episcopal Church in Sauk Centre.

She is excited about her new role in the church and is looking forward to serving her church community. She believes the focus shouldn't be on her accomplishments. "This isn't about me," she said. "This is about God."

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