Standing before Bishop Stephen London, their family, friends and members of the Diocese of Edmonton on Holy Cross Day, the Rev. Lisa Wojna and Jordan Giggey publicly answered the call of Christ to begin their new ministries as priest and transitional deacon.
“Lisa and Jordan, this evening is the beginning of a journey in which you are giving yourselves to Jesus Christ to be workers in the vineyard of the kingdom, to be ambassadors of reconciliation, to be proclaimers of the Gospel, to be living icons of the mercy and love of God,” said Bishop London addressing the ordinands on September 14, 2023, at All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton.
“The Feast of the Holy Cross is particularly profound because at the heart of it is the cross of Jesus Christ, the great sign of God’s love for the world where Christ died for the sins of the world and reconciled the world to God,” continued Bishop London in his Homily.
“To see Christ on the cross is to say that God’s love does not only shine in perfect places to perfect people God’s love goes to the darkest corners to bring hope and healing and goodness and mercy. God is always the shepherd going to the margins. We go to the cross because it shows us that we don’t have to hide from God in our failures, and shame, and sin. Whatever we hide from other people, we don’t have to hide from God because God is already there. God knows inside God’s own heart your pain… and has compassion.”
The cross is also a reminder that the church is broken, he said. “We are coming out of a hard history where we know well that our church has not lived into the values of the Kingdom of God. We have run residential schools, we have denied the LGBTQ2+ community full inclusion, and we have often in history been a church of the wealthy and powerful…”
Yet we remember the cross leads to resurrection, said Bishop London. “Today we are in a profound and exciting time of reformation, and we see glimpses of God transforming our beloved church, he said looking upward to the chapel at the back of the cathedral. The day before the ordination, stained glass windows, designed by artist Brenda Malkinson in consultation with the Ven. Travis Enright and Indigenous elders had been installed in the chapel. Together, the six panels depict a “swirling medicine wheel with the four quadrants representing medicines of this land: rat root, sage, sweetgrass and cedar. It shows that the church can be of this land and of this place, with the medicines of this land and prints of the animals of this land. A beautiful icon of renewal.”
Though the Rev. Lisa Wojna says she has always felt God’s presence in her life, it was not until she was 53 and driving past Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, that “I recognised I needed to place effort behind that calling, and I began the process of discernment in a serious way, aided by my priest at the time, the Rev. Susan Ormsbee. She has been instrumental in my journey throughout.”
Now that she is a priest, Wojna who is a member of the Parish of St. Paul’s, Leduc, and works as a chaplain at Grey Nuns Community Hospital, says, “I hope to be able to bring the sacramental part of my ministry to my Anglican patients when requested.”
Ordained a transitional deacon, the Rev. Jordan Giggey, of St. Mary’s, Edmonton, says he has felt called since “I was a small child going to mass with my dad at a Polish Catholic church.” Yet, he quickly adds that during his adolescent and teenage years, “I spent a long time ignoring God's call. I always say that God took the scenic route with me.”
Giggey says both a former Dean of Edmonton, the Very Rev. Neil Gordon, and more recently, the Ven. Travis Enright, rector of St. Mary’s and St. Faith’s, Edmonton, were formational and instrumental mentors.
By serving people through St. Mary’s food bank ministry and the Queer Beginnings queer-affirming community, as well as Queerly Beloved, a working group of the diocesan social justice committee, he has been able to “etch out a space for those of us who had been pushed out, in one way or another, to reclaim our spirituality and have a welcome space.”
As Giggey embraces his calling, he often reflects on a message he shared with St. George’s, Devon this summer: “When you choose to have that firm faith in the Lord's call and listen to what God is calling you to do, the Lord truly does provide.”