Ordination to the Sacred Order of Diaconate

Ordination to the Sacred Order of Diaconate

By the divine permission Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Holy Orders under the protection of Almighty God were administered to 6 ordinands, Cecil Tengatenga, Christopher Gregorio, Emily Carter, Dylan Mello, Michael Southwick, and Roxana Videla on June 17, 2023 at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford for ordination to the sacred order of deacons.

“O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

-The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello & The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens

Cecil Tengatenga

“To have been called to serve despite of my vulnerability and fault is an overwhelming experience of God’s redeeming love. I pray that ECCT can grow our spirituality by centering mercy and forgiveness as part of our witness to the works of Christ.”
  • Sending Parish: Trinity on the Green, New Haven
  • Presenters: Lindsey, Sekai and Shamiso Tengatenga, The Rev. Donald Hamer Vesters: The Rev. Luk de Volder, The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga
  • Contact: cetenga@gmail.com

Christopher Gregorio

  • Sending Parish: Episcopal Church at Yale
  • Presenters: The Rev. Ali Donohue, David Rivera Vesters: Gregas and Eufemia Gregorio
  • Contact: gregorio.christopher@gmail.com

Emily Carter

  • Sending Parish: Episcopal Church at Yale
  • Presenters: The Rev. Heidi Thorsen, Diana Alvarado Vester: Phoebe Oler
  • Contact: ecarter0113@gmail.com

Dylan Mello

“The moment when Bishop Laura laid her hands on my head and shared the ordination prayer, I felt an unexpected feeling of faith, love, and affirmation. I am grateful to ECCT, our bishops, and my colleagues for their support and care over this journey. I am excited to see how God will use us all in the world.”
  • Sending Parish: St. Mary’s, Manchester
  • Presenters: Alejandra Mello, Carolyn Mello, Violette Mello Vesters: The Rev. John Betit, The Rev. Jane Hale
  • Contact: dmello@chtwestport.org

Michael Southwick

“I’m still processing the significance of the ordination. It was an incredibly meaningful and spiritual event and such a blessing to be surrounded by so much love and community.  I was particularly thankful that I was able to take this next step in my journey with five extraordinary companions who will provide immeasurable gifts to the Church for many years to come. I am truly humbled by the prospect of walking along this path with them. My heartfelt thanks go out to the Bishops, Rebekah, the Standing Committee, the Commission on Ministry and the entire ECCT community who have all provided me with guidance and support in one way or another throughout the past seven years.”
  • Sending Parish: Christ Church, Greenwich
  • Presenters: The Rev. Terry Elsberry, Lynne Smith Vester: Taylor Gray
  • Contact: mjsouthwick@optonline.net

Roxana Videla

“I am so glad to serve my Lord and my neighbor as an ordained minister. I will help everyone who is in need, especially families of immigrants.”
  • Sending Parish: All Saints, Meriden
  • Presenters: The Rev. Molly F. James, Ph.D., Delia Soria Vesters: The Rev. Michael Carroll, Elizabeth Rivera

Oral History: Anne Rowthorn

An Interview with Anne Rowthorn: Environmentalist, Author, and Religious Lay Leader

Transcribed & Interviewed By: Greg Farr and Published By: Caela Collins

Greg FarrAnne Rowthorn
Fun Fact: Anne’s husband is The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey W. Rowthorn, Episcopal Suffragan Bishop of CT that was later appointed U.S. Bishop in Europe

I was very impressed though with the scope of your dissertation, the topic was on the development of recreational therapy in the United States, right? And you looked at the early 20th century all the way up to the present day. So that must have been very formative in how you thought about things in your later career endeavors?

Well, you know, I like the historical process and I enjoyed doing it. And I liked that recreation therapy really came out of the settlement houses in Chicago and New York, and it was helping a great deal in hard times. And there was a historical thread – I was a delegate to the diocesan convention. I was a New Haven deanery delegate and at that time that the church was organized not in regions but in deaneries. And we had a small suburban church in Hamden, where we lived, and we had a general annual general meeting where they elected the vestry members. And there was the delegate to the deanery [position] to the diocese, and nobody would take that position. So, they said, “Well, how about you Anne?” And, you know, I was just trying to finish this PhD, and I’m working part-time…

And the 3 kids!…

Yes, three kids! And so they said, “yeah, just go ahead and do it!”. And so actually, I did do it. We had 19 churches in and around New Haven. They were marvelous priests, marvelous lay people. It was very, very involved in the community.

Some of our members were instrumental in forming Columbus House, the first homeless shelter in New Haven, and their after-school programs. There were soup kitchens, feeding programs. We were probably, along with the Bridgeport Deanery, the most active deanery in the diocese. And we were very good at getting diocesan money to run our programs.

Well, at one point, the Bicentennial of the Episcopal Church was coming up, and we always needed more money. So, I thought, well, I’ll write their bicentennial biography of Samuel Seabury, our first bishop, and then, you know, see if we can arrange some tours so that maybe Episcopalians of means could go to Scotland where Seabury was ordained Bishop.

And actually, that was the first thing I thought – if I could find more about this guy, then we would have a little bit historical basis for planning these tours. But then I thought, wow, this is so good, and he was such an interesting character, I would just write a book. The book did become the bi-centennial book of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and it was my first book – and it was a lot of fun doing it.

And I discovered his journals. and I edited those adding illustrations by a really marvelous woman named Jane Hooker, who was this New Haven artist. And so that kind of got me started.

So, the media has recognized you as a writer specializing in Eco-Spirituality. Tell me a little bit about that recognition if you would and about your understanding of the way theology and ecology, and the practice of those disciplines, intertwine.

What shall I say? Well, I’ve was very influenced by John Muir. And John Muir, as you know, grew up in biblical tradition. He had memorized all of the Old Testament by the time he was 12, and most of the New Testament. Yet going out to Yosemite, which was particularly his epiphany, but he had other nature trips. First, he really realized that this is where God is present – this is sacred land, this is my cathedral. And, and I feel that way too. Because I feel, truly going back even perhaps to my past, that I might have had a dysfunctional family but nature was always there.

Nature was always beautiful, though violent at times, but always regenerative. And, in fact, the land we walk on is really sacred ground. And, I saw, going back to my experience with the Lakota people, that they thought of the world of the land differently than we did. They thought that it was sacred, they thought that the sky was sacred. This is just built into their DNA, the sky, the winds, the animals are sacred. And it’s been my feeling, and that others very much like me, John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker at the Yale Forum for Religion and Ecology, that the churches need to open themselves up to the natural world as really a primary teacher. And I hope it’s not good sounding heretical to say that, that we have the Trinity of three persons – and God, the Creator … well, things have changed, we’ll have to say … is very much being eclipsed in the face of Jesus, the Redeemer.

And so, the three aspects of the Trinity are not treated equally. And, now is the time and our planet is truly suffering, as you know. And so the churches have a great role in opening up their doors and seeing that sacredness extends beyond the beautiful windows and the church … and even the community and even the people. Churches have a role in saying, “Well, who is my neighbor?” Well my neighbor is not just the neighbor sitting beside me in the church or where I live, but my neighbor is the animals, the ground, the plants, the sea, the sky. My neighbor is all of creation, and to widen their prayers and widen their spirituality to that idea of that my neighbor is the world – my neighbor is creation.

Which is including many people, many cultures.


So, please allow me one last big question. You know, I was thinking about ‘healing’. Healing seems to be one of the primary themes that runs through most of your work because, you know, we’re not the Garden of Eden anymore. We have got problems and we’ve got things that need healing. How do you understand that concept or that process today? I know that we started out talking about lament. What does that look like for you today? Is it the same or different?

I think that we need to acknowledge what hurts. We need to acknowledge the causes of lament. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the work of Joanna Macy? Joanna Macy is very much influenced by Buddhist tradition. And she kind of got her name through naming the dangers of nuclear build-up and nuclear weapons. And one of her conclusions – and she’s basically moved over to [writing about] the environment – was that we need to acknowledge the hurt, we need to acknowledge the danger, and only in acknowledging danger can we build ourselves up?

We have to break down the barriers. We do have to have to acknowledge the hurt. And, I’d say the other thing with healing, is if you want to talk about healing – I get healing every day. See there’s a field there [gesturing out through the window]. I wake up at six every morning and I take a little hike through the woods to that field. Then I’ll take a hike in the afternoon. So, creation is very hurt. We have many hurt people and hurt communities. The only way I combat that – just speaking for myself – is by a good dose of nature every day. The Japanese call it “nature bathing”. I just call it, “just taking a walk in the woods”.

Y(ASC) Me All About It

Interviewed By: Caela Collins

Who is Miranda Wilson?

My name is Miranda Wilson, I’m 24 (25 on March 31!) and I’m from Norwalk, Connecticut, my home parish being Saint Luke’s Darien. I’m currently a year into my placement as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps of the Episcopal Church (YASC).

My placement is in Geneva, Switzerland, where I am working as the Communications Officer for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, as well as serving as a Geneva Additional Representative at UN Geneva for the DFMS (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America).

My days include everything from running social media pages, creating service bulletins and email newsletters, to managing event logistics and taking part in meetings at the UN!

What is YASC?

The Young Adult Service Corps, or YASC, is a program for Episcopalians ages 21-30 that places applicants in different dioceses in the Anglican Communion around the world. Depending on their interests and skills, participants can work at churches, refugee centers, transitional housing, schools, and various other places connected to each diocese. In my YASC cohort, there are 10 of us, with placements ranging from Costa Rica, Italy, and Sri Lanka!

Where were you placed?

Originally, I was assigned a placement in Oman, but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I ended up instead in Switzerland. I’ve found it really exciting to be living in Geneva—it’s truly an international place, with so many international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and non-profits, all working to make the world a better place. It’s definitely been a bit of a challenge getting my French up to speed, but one that I’ve enjoyed! Working at Emmanuel has been a really great way to integrate myself in both the local and the expatriate communities.

Fun Fact:

In fact, Emmanuel is the only Episcopal Church in all of Switzerland (8.8 million people)! If you compare that to Connecticut (3.6 million people), which has over 150 Episcopal parishes, that’s a big difference.

I think this makes the local Episcopal community value Emmanuel even more, due to the lack of specifically Episcopal worship in Switzerland. It’s really exciting, as a young Episcopalian, to see such a vibrant Episcopal community flourishing outside of the United States.

From your point of view, what are some strengths of The Episcopal Church that empower you as a young Episcopalian?

As a younger member of the Episcopal Church, I think the Church is doing a lot right. One important aspect the Church has done well in is issuing public statements against injustice and inequality in our world. I was heartened by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement against the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022. It is important to me, as a young woman, to know that the Church I support also supports me in my right to have access to healthcare. I would not feel nearly as welcome or comfortable in a church that did not outwardly express support for women in that manner.

I also find it important that the Episcopal Church recognizes the marginalization and oppression of LGTBQ+ folks, as well as racial discrimination against Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and other minority groups. As long as these statements continue to be followed up with thoughtful, meaningful action, this is truly a step in the right direction.

In what ways can The Episcopal Church connect more with the youth?

However, I still think The Episcopal Church could do more to actively encourage and involve youth and young adults. It’s important that we have just as many opportunities to be on committees and councils that are making decisions. Having more young adults in positions of leadership throughout the Church allows our voices to be heard, as well as representation in a setting that often skews towards the elder portion of a population.  

In this day and age, social activism is more important now than perhaps ever to young people as we face an overwhelming host of issues in our world, and we want a Church which not only supports us in that, but actively partakes in it as well.

Describe how you adjusted to living in a different country:

In my life so far, I’ve been really lucky and privileged to have lived in various countries outside of the United States. While this comes with truly amazing experiences, adjusting frequently to life in a new country can be really challenging and exhausting. One common thread I’ve found in my experiences abroad has been the Episcopal Church.


When I lived in Thailand following high school, I didn’t have an Episcopal church near where I was living. That made me realize how I, unwittingly, took for granted the steadfast presence of my home parish, Saint Luke’s Darien, in my life growing up.


When I moved to Scotland for college, I looked specifically for an Episcopal church I could join. I became a Choral Scholar at St Andrews Episcopal Church in St Andrews, Scotland, and this provided me with an extra community throughout my time at school. Not only did I get to meet locals who weren’t necessarily students at the school, but I also became part of a warm, welcoming family of Episcopalians. My fellow choir members came to my musical and theatrical performances, gave me baked goods, and offered comfort and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. When I visit St Andrews now, the church is one of the places I’m most excited to go back to, because I know I will always be warmly welcomed by familiar and new faces.


Now that I am in Switzerland, having the Episcopal church here has only solidified my stance that having an Episcopal community while abroad is very important for me. There is something so beautiful, and also so comforting and familiar, about singing a favorite hymn from The 1982 Hymnal, or reciting The Nicene Creed both at home and thousands of miles away.

Wherever you go, The Episcopal Church is always the same, waiting to welcome you—how amazing is that?! Today, I’m enmeshed fully in the life of Emmanuel, learning French, attending meetings, workshops, and seminars at the United Nations, performing with a local Musical Theater group, traveling around Europe, and meeting amazing people from all over the world—I could not be more blessed to be a part of YASC and The Episcopal Church.

Reflection: From Saul to Paul

January 25th is The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

Paul the Apostle

Before Saint Paul was the Apostle, he was Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of those who followed and believed in Jesus Christ.

When he set out to find and persecute Christians in Damascus, a bright light blinded him, which was the risen Jesus himself. After that moment his heart was forever changed and he became Paul the Apostle.

Similar to Saint Paul the Apostle, we’ve all experienced having a change of heart, which is part of God’s refining process. For gold to become pure, it must be tested in fire. Much like the bright light of Jesus that blinded Saul, there will be fires sent to test the genuineness of our faith.

This encounter is significant because it reveals to us how Jesus has the power to create in us a sincere change of heart.

We Encourage you to explore The Conversion of Saint Paul and discover ways in which your heart has changed and can still be changed in a season of refinement.

Meditate on these Affirmations for a Renewed Heart and Spirit:
“Burn me Beautiful.”
“Burn me Lovely.”
“Burn me Righteous.”
“Burn me Holy.”

Written By: Caela Collins

Paul the Apostle