The Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, led the Ordination of a Priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant Sunday, elevating Deacon “Sparky” to the priesthood according to the rituals of the church.
Participating with him in the ceremony were members of her family, of the two congregations where she will serve and Episcopal priests and deacons from nearby communities in Northeast Texas and from Dallas.
Criss Bartley of Gilmer represented St. David’s when she read the New Testament scripture for the service.
While the process of approving her application began last January, once all the prerequisite hurdles had been met, Bishop Stanton noted that Sunday, Dec. 1, is the beginning of Advent and in the liturgical calendar, the beginning of a new year.
He felt it appropriate to ordain the new priest so she could start her new post with the start of the new liturgical year and be in place for the Christmas season.
The two congregations which compose Trinity Parish of Northeast Texas, St. Mark’s in Mount Pleasant and St. David’s in Gilmer, have shared a priest since 1989.
It was December 5, 2006, when the Rev. James C.S. Slack was the priest that Ethel Channon was ordained a deacon at the church in Mount Pleasant, and she has served principally there since that date.
Last January at their annual parish meeting, the two congregations voted to urge the Diocese to consider elevating Deacon Channon to the priesthood.
For the past two years, since the transfer of the last priest to Arlington, visiting priests have led most of the services with assistance by Deacon Sparky much of the time.
It was 1987 when a native Illinoisan, Ethel Channon, took the assistant city editor’s job with the Texarkana Gazette. Six months later, she was elevated to city editor, a post she held for several years, before being promoted to assistant managing editor and eventually to managing editor.
At the Gazette, she also served as editorial page coordinator and main editorial writer for several years. She contributed one editorial and one column per week to the edit page.
Now, after almost 27 years with the Gazette, the graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville is starting a new career.
A double major in mass communications and French, she also holds a diploma in ministry degree from the Anglican School of Theology-Stanton Center for Ministry Formation in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.
She grew up in East St. Louis, Ill. After working in municipal government during and after college, she turned to journalism in 1980 as a journalist in Belleville, Ill.
Since becoming more involved with the ministries of the Episcopal Church, she participated in a series of studies for the laity called Education for Ministry, and from there she became involved with the homeless ministry with the Randy Sams Outreach Shelter in Texarkana.
She was founding board member and had a 10-year tenure on board, including the opening and construction of a homeless shelter. She also has been very active in Residents Encounter Christ of Texas (R.E.C.) at the prison in Winnsboro where she and others both lay and clergy spend a weekend inside the prison with a group of prisoners.
Starting Sunday, Mother Channon will be leading the service of Holy Communion at St. David’s at 218 Old Coffeeville Road at 9 a.m.