It is my pleasure to “introduce” the Reverend Deacon Wendy Dixon. Wendy has been with CTR since its inception, and many of us know her already, of course; others of us have seen her serving as deacon these past few months.
I first began to wonder if Wendy might have a call to ordained ministry as I saw the fruit of her work in spiritual direction, a ministry she leads for us at CTR. One autumn a little later she led the follow-up group from our annual healing conference, and during this time I became convinced.
Wendy combines a profound sensitivity to God’s Spirit with a sharp mind and a compassionate heart. I look forward with much anticipation to her ordination to the priesthood later this year, as well her continued ministry among us, especially in healing ministry and spiritual direction.
“Adventures with God” is a phrase I’ve been using a lot lately. Starting a year ago in August, God called me to the adventure of preparing for ordination in the Anglican Diocese in New England. Preparatory to this call, God had been hard at work in me. Travel with me in the “way back machine” to my childhood.
Growing up in Ladue, Missouri, I was steeped in the Anglican tradition, starting with Morning Prayer every day from fourth grade on at an all-girls school I attended, as well as attendance at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. My faith, such as it was, however, grew shaky by junior year, and I decided not to sing the songs from the hymnal any more.
To get to the bottom of what I really believed, I studied philosophy and theater once I hit college (Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts). I emerged agnostic. After college I worked in advertising in New York City where I met my husband, Dennis. With the birth of our first child, we moved to Manchester-by-the-Sea and, by bringing a series of Christian nannies into our lives, God started making his move to win our hearts to him.
Everything changed when we began following Jesus.
I read the Bible through in its entirety. I started taking seminary courses at Gordon-Conwell in theology, Islam and modern religions and cults. I went to conferences, seminars and weekend retreats. I attended weekly Bible studies. I was a voracious reader of the writings of the sainted nuns and monks from centuries past. As time went on, my faith grew deeper and wider; life in the Spirit became more real and dynamic. (Side note: Fr. Tim preached an excellent sermon on Pentecost Sunday 2017 entitled Life in the Spirit is Christian Normal.)
Fast forward to two years ago when God called me to ordained ministry.
My adventures with God accelerated. The Bishop, the Parish Discernment Committee, the Vestry, and the Board of Examining Chaplains all would discern whether my call was valid and if I was fit to fulfill it. I did something called “reading for ordination,” which involved roughly 6,000 pages of material covering nine subject areas, and writing papers for each of those areas.
Today I’m most often found praying with people or meeting one-on-one with someone for spiritual direction. (Trained through the Spiritual Directors Internship Initiative, I’ve offered spiritual direction since 2005.) I lead small groups and day retreats on any number of subjects, as well as the Liturgical Arts Team. A significant part of my ministry with CTR is helping lead the Healing Prayer ministry.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my husband, reading, swimming, and hanging out with any daughter who is free to play with me.
As I move through my diaconal year at CTR, I look forward to having more adventures with God in learning, loving and leading. I am excited to serve at Christ the Redeemer for many years, as the Spirit leads.