Ms. Debbie Cassavaugh of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Norwich contributed to this article.
“God willing and the people consenting,” Lynne A. Walton, a long-time resident of New Berlin, will be ordained a Deacon in The Episcopal Church on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. The ceremony, officiated by the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Bishop of Central New York, will take place at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 37 West Main Street in Norwich. The public is cordially invited to attend the ceremony in-person or online at cnyepiscopal.org/ordination-walton. A festive free cookout will follow at Emmanuel’s Parish House. This is the first ordination at Emmanuel in 31 years. Numerous clergy are expected to attend.
Walton grew up in New Berlin, New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Cornell University and retired from Procter & Gamble in 2010 after a 32-year career as a Health, Safety and Environmental Manager. She is well-known throughout Chenango County as the Outreach Coordinator for Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Norwich, a position she has held for the last 10 years. She has worked tirelessly with local agencies, foundations, and businesses to provide food, medicine, heat, and transportation for people and families in need in Chenango County.
A lifelong Episcopalian, Walton’s journey to ordination began while she was living in Ohio and still working for Procter and Gamble. She attended a church women’s retreat where she heard stories that ignited a new desire to work with the Church. “Sharing with this group of women brought me to a new understanding of the way my life is enfolded with the rest of the world,” says Walton. “I found spiritual closeness to God through them, and not just a network of friends.”
Upon retirement, Walton began to work formally with The Episcopal Church to determine whether she was called to ordained ministry. She returned to her hometown of New Berlin and joined a community of three partnered Episcopal churches in Chenango County: St. Andrew’s, New Berlin; St. Matthew’s, South New Berlin; and Emmanuel, Norwich. The late Rev. Charles Taylor, who was the rector of these parishes at the time, encouraged her to enroll in the Christian Leadership Certificate program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. She completed that program in 2013. Her preparation for ordained ministry then continued through the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, and she has continued to grow as a leader with the three Chenango County churches, supported by their current rector, the Rev. Steve White. Most recently, she has interned at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca under the supervision of that church’s rector, the Very Rev. Megan Castellan.
Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, who oversees all the clergy in the 82 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, looks forward to ordaining Walton as a deacon. “The heart of a deacon’s ministry is to empower the Church to address the hopes, needs, and concerns of our neighbors,” says Duncan-Probe. “God has given Lynne a beautiful heart for service and a talent for bringing people together. Across the Diocese, we are celebrating this moment and looking forward to new opportunities for shared ministry!”
In the Episcopal Church, all individuals, regardless of gender expression or sexual orientation, may be ordained as deacons, priest or bishops, the three ordained orders in the Church; celebacy is not required of the clergy. The Church’s General Convention approved the ordination of women to the diaconate in 1967 and to the priesthood and episcopate in 1976.
Established in 1868, The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York is made up of 11,000 faithful Christians worshiping in 82 Episcopal congregations and chapels, including one college chaplaincy. The Diocese is part of The Episcopal Church in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Diocese extends to 14 counties in the center of New York State: Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, Tioga and Tompkins.