Bruce A McCallum, a long-time rural Waupaca resident, was among seven people ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon Saturday, May 7, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Fond du Lac.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac is a part of the US Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Ordination follows years of discernment, education and training as required by church law.
McCallum said he spent three years in training at a diocesan-sponsored deacon school. He took monthly weekend in classes in Wausau, in addition to reading, homework and research.
He also completed Education for Ministry (EfM), a four-year college-level course developed by the theological seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. Combining scholarship with prayer and reflection, participants in EfM read through the Old Testament, the New Testament, church history and theology.
“It was not necessary, but I participated in EfM to expand my horizons,” McCallum said. “I also completed training to be a hospice volunteer.”
In addition to his education, McCallum obtained approvals of Bishop Russell Jacobus, of Fond du Lac, the Standing Committee and the Commission on Ministry.
McCallum has been a member a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 415 S Main St., Waupaca, for more than 20 years. He will serve as a deacon at St. Mark’s.
The Rite of Ordination takes place within the context of the Holy Eucharist and includes the Presentation, Examination and Consecration of the ordinand.
McCallum said the ceremony dates back many centuries and is a time of celebration on the part of the newly ordained, family, friends and all who have supported and encouraged the ordinand.
An important aspect of ordained ministry for a deacon is to interpret to the church the needs, concerns and hopes of the world and to also serve the helpless.
“In some Protestant denominations, a deacon is the same as a trustee or elder,” McCallum said. “In the Episcopal tradition, a deacon is ordained.”
He noted that there are transitional and vocational deacons. Transitional deacons usually become priests after about six to nine months, while vocational deacons see their ministry as permanent. McCallum said he is a vocational deacon.
“The hound of heaven has been nipping at my heels for so many years that I finally gave into it,” McCallum said.
McCallum said the order of deacons goes back to the first century of Christianity and to the Book of Acts, where St. Stephen is portrayed as helping the poor and debating theology in public.
“The Episcopal Church brought the deacon back as a serving ministry about 50 years ago,” McCallum said. “I am the first ever deacon at St. Mark’s in their 150-year history.”