By Richard Middleton
On March 21st, 2004, I was ordained Deacon at Christ’s Church Cathedral (Hamilton). I was one of seven being ordained that day. It was a very impressive service as I became a Deacon in the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Niagara.
I was encouraged to look into becoming a Deacon by the wife of our former Deacon, Ben Martin. She felt that I would make a good choice for Deacon. I felt honoured to take her up on this idea and so I proceeded. I will admit that this will be a challenge for me to follow in his footsteps, as he was a very devout Deacon.
I have been married for 51 years to my wife Linda, who was an RPN at the Welland County General Hospital for 35 years. We have four grown sons, three of which are married and have given us six grandchildren. Our fourth son is not married and has a mild handicap. He lives alone in a house which one of his brothers bought for him to live in as long as he needs it.
I have settled into my role as Deacon at St. David’s Anglican Church in Welland, and help at two Sunday services every Sunday morning. I set the communion table, read the Gospel, offer the Prayers of the People, and preach when asked to do so. I also say Morning Prayer services once a month in the Dunn Parish at Port Maitland and South Cayuga. I am also the Padre/chaplain for our local Branch 4 of the Royal Canadian Legion and sit on their executive committee. This involves attending monthly meetings and four general membership meetings through the year. I also take part in two Remembrance Day services every year.
I have also been Chaplain for the District Deputy Grand Master of Niagara “B” District of the Masons for the past few years, and will continue in that role as long as I am asked to be.
I feel that this is where I was called to be — as a Deacon. As Deacon I am the right-hand assistant for our Rector.
I was a Licensed Lay Reader for more than a decade before I was ordained Deacon. I also offer palliative care pastoral support in two Niagara regional nursing homes in Welland, and at the Welland Hospital when asked to.
Before I was ordained Deacon, I worked for 30 years at John Deere Welland Works, where I was a lift-truck operator. I was also on a team of members of the Safety Committee. In 2000 I was approached by my foreman to assist with an outside counsellor’s group who were called in to help counsel employees coping with a tragic workplace accident that took the lives of two visiting ninth-grade students. I feel that this experience helped me make my decision to pursue becoming a Deacon.
I believe that if I am able to bring at least one or two people from outside of the church into our church that were not members of any church before, then I am helping to improve the church. I feel that as a Deacon I have filled my ideal for me at this time of my life.
I thoroughly enjoy visiting with the many elderly people in the nursing homes and patients in the hospital, as well as the people of St. David’s.