Baldwinsville, NY – The Episcopal community of Grace Episcopal Church in Baldwinsville along with all of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York is joyfully preparing to witness the ordination of Rev. Joseph “Joe” Hannah to the priesthood. The ordination service will take place on Saturday, July 29, at 10 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, where Joe will serve as rector.
Joe’s journey towards priesthood has been marked by dedication and service. Prior to pursuing ordination, Joe spent more than 40 years as a college swimming coach, demonstrating leadership and commitment in shaping the lives of young athletes. In December 2022, he was ordained to the transitional diaconate and, since then, has been serving at Church of the Saviour in Syracuse.
“Joe’s work as a coach has been excellent preparation for ministry,” says the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, the Bishop of Central New York who oversees and supports the more than 80 parishes in the diocese. “The role of a coach is to guide and support athletes in developing their skills and achieving their full potential, both for themselves and for the team. Likewise, ministers are ordained to teach and encourage the spiritual growth of those in their parish through faithful leadership, encouragement, and pastoral care. From his time as a lay worship leader and preacher to his current vocation as a transitional deacon, I’ve experienced Joe to be someone who seeks a closer relationship with God, is dedicated to sharing his faith with others, and is actively engaged in the sacred work of racial justice and healing. There is great excitement about his ordination to the priesthood and for our shared, ongoing ministry in this diocese.”
During his time as a transitional deacon, Joe has made significant contributions to the community through his involvement in racial reconciliation work. Notably, he participated in a Civil Rights pilgrimage, displaying his dedication to justice and equality. His unwavering passion for social justice reflects his earnest desire for a closer relationship with God. And, of course, his experience as a coach is influencing his life in ordained ministry.
“Grace is a wonderful place and Baldwinsville is a beautiful town,” says Rev. Joe. “I’m eager to reset and refocus our team at Grace to be even more present in the community that they already are. I want us to help the people in our community understand that the Episcopal Church welcomes everyone, even people who aren’t exactly like me or you. And it’s a good thing to be in a place where everyone is not just like everybody else, places where you work together for a common goal, talking through differences, instead of hunkering down in a bunker with people who believe exactly as you do.”
Bishop Duncan-Probe will preside and preach at the ordination service. Parishioners at Grace Episcopal Church, the parish where Rev. Joe will serve as priest, will play an important role in the service.
Rev. Joe’s experience as a coach is already coming to bear on his relationships and ministry with the people of Grace Baldwinsville. “I’ve drafted players from Grace to be prominently involved with the ordination service because that day is about what God is doing in the Diocese of Central New York, and especially what God is doing at Grace. It’ll be a wonderful day for our team to celebrate together and the athletics parallels won’t end there. People should be prepared for a lot of aquatic and teamwork analogies in my sermons!”
All are cordially invited to attend the ordination and share in the celebration of Joe Hannah’s faithful response to God’s call through his ordination to the priesthood. For those unable to attend in person, the service will be livestreamed on at facebook.com/cnyepiscopal/live. If you’d like to support Rev. Joe’s ministry by donating to his discretionary fund, visit bit.ly/revjoehannah.
The Diocese of Central New York is a community of 11,000 faithful Episcopalians driven by a shared vision of a world healed by love. To learn more about the diocese, visit cnyepiscopal.org.