Reflections on the Diaconate

The Rev. Cassandra Cook-Quarry

Reflections on the Diaconate

I had been asked to write a bit about my ministry as a Deacon. 

I am going into my 7th year since Ordination, Thanks be to God! I did my internship serving at St Peter’s in Kasson with Rev. Colin Maltbie, and once ordained, I spent a year at The Cathedral in Faribault where I served with my mentor, Deacon Bonnie Holt. But I felt the pull for a different ministry.

I have been serving now at All Saints in Northfield for 4+ years. There are many retired clergy there, and many professors from the colleges in the area. I was terrified knowing this at first, as I would have to preach in front of all of these amazing scholars in the pews. But they all have been accepting of my wife Jayne and me. They have offered me lots of Grace over the last 4 years!

One of the ministries that I am involved with is the planning committee for Ruth’s House Gala which is their yearly fundraiser, which is amazing by the way! The whole event raises a large amount of money in one night for repairs and upkeep at Ruth’s House, and to help the residents that are in crisis. 

What is Ruth’s House? Ruth’s House is a safe place for women and children in crisis located in Faribault. There is help for those that are trying to rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive relationship and be safe. Some are in recovery from addictions. Others are in fear of what may be going in in their lives. Ruth’s House is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. 

They have also expanded to offering a sober living house for women who are transitioning to healthy independent living. They can assist with resources, finding employment and coping skills. It can hold 5 women and is located in Northfield. This is called Sarah’s House. After working in drug and alcohol recovery, I can see where there needs to be more of these types of houses so that the residents can focus on getting themselves well and have direction in their lives.

The past 18 months have been a hard blow to us all. I took a small break from serving as Deacon during the heart of it all. At that time I was working in a drug and alcohol residential recovery facility. We did not shut down at all during this time. Even though we were live streaming at All Saints, with only very few people in the church, I was afraid that I could easily be a carrier and that I would bring it to the few that were in and out of church that had their own health issues.

This pandemic has been a long road but hopefully we are seeing some daylight. Vaccines are making more things possible. Even with the new variant, I am still seeing the daylight on the horizon. In this age, we have learned to appreciate the precious time we spend together even more. It is amazing to see faces again, to see smiles again. The tenderness that is visible in each other’s eyes is the light that has been “hidden under a basket” for the last year and a half. 

We just didn’t know how much we would miss our people or our routines until we were cut off from it all. We didn’t know how much we would miss sharing a common cup, the breaking of the bread, the blessings bestowed upon us. It has been a long road but there is a light. 

There are always ministry/human/community issues that need our attention as Deacons. Getting back to the human side of each other is a huge ministry now that I feel is one that needs my attention in a big way. I do not know what each day will bring with Covid. I do expect more fear and anger to arise. It is fear and anger of the unknown. We ALL experience these types of emotions. I pray we as Deacons keep up on what is going on in the community, Covid/mask mandates and in the world around us. I know I am “preaching to the choir” here but I just wanted to remind all of us, myself included. We are all human with our human faults and shortcomings. We must keep looking toward the light down this long road. We look to the Lord to guide our emotions and to make us see Jesus in each other. Keep looking at that light in each other’s eyes. Even with masks we can see emotions in the eyes.

I know we all are looking forward to the end of this pandemic and all the controversy it involves. I pray for all of you, and ask that you pray for me as we wade through this conundrum that has been presented to the world.

Peace to each of you, my brothers and sisters, until we can be together again.

Rev. Cassandra Cook-Quarry