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Meet Our Six New Deacons!

Six new deacons and one acolyte at Christ Church Cathedral Mobile.
Stephen Pecot, John Fountain, Jen Leahey, Deborah Knight-Epps, Ryan Lee, Brad Clark and acolyte on the steps of Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile. Photo credit: Cindy McCrory

On Saturday, March 25, Bishop Russell ordained six ordinands to the Sacred Order of Deacons at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile. Deacon Carolyn Foster of the Diocese of Alabama, preached on living into the ministry of being the bridge between the church and the world through their new roles as deacons. The Book of Common Prayer summarizes the role of deacon as

Every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.

As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by your word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God's Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from time to time. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ's people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.

Meet our new deacons!

Once all church placements have been confirmed, an announcement will be made.

Brad Clark

Transitional Deacon

What began as a small tug in the 90’s, steadily grew into a strong pull over the course of the next twenty or so years. At our Diocese’s 48th annual convention in 2019, the Holy Spirit gifted Bishop Kendrick an invisible baseball bat; and with a call for Deacons, he swung and plugged me square between the eyes. He sealed the deal and the pull became irresistible. After a year of discernment with my church, St. Paul’s Mobile, Bishop Kendrick, and the Commission on Ministry, I entered our local School for Ministry and will be finishing the program this June. It has been such a gift to recognize my call and to then have the asset that is our school available to fulfill it. I look forward to many more years in the service of God and my community. My wife, Chellie, and I live in Mobile, in close proximity to our six grandchildren—who own our hearts.

John Fountain

Transitional Deacon

I am graduating from Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX in May, and will be starting ministry at a parish in our diocese this summer. Joining me will be my wife, Kelly, and our three daughters Gray(10), Eleanor(8), and Mary Mac(6), and I cannot forget our beloved golden retriever, Sonny! Before attending seminary, I worked briefly as the youth director at St. Paul’s in Mobile, but primary experience comes from twelve years working on the Mobile River as a ship stevedore, pushboat deckhand, and harbor tug manager. While I enjoyed working on the water, those closest to me recognized my zest for ministry, and the discernment process revealed God’s call to my life. I am thrilled to return to the Gulf Coast, and look forward to new roles in our beloved diocese!

Deborah Knight-Epps

Vocational Deacon

Reared in Pensacola Florida, I attended the public school system, then Pensacola Junior College where I obtained a nursing degree. In 1989, I joined St. Cyprian's Episcopal church under the leadership of Father Gathiga. After the death of my husband, I answered God's call for service. In 2014-2017, I attended Slidell Baptist Seminary where I earned two degrees. Continuing my discernment for a deeper knowledge of the plan God has for me, I enrolled in EfM (Education for Ministry). It was then that I recognized my call was to go out into the world to proclaim the love of God, so I began on the path of becoming a deacon. I am the mother of two daughters, two grandchildren and a grand puppy. I am active in Kiaros of Northwest Florida along with JUST Pensacola. I also continue my ministry through my work as a nurse and enjoy baking in my spare time.

Jen Leahey

Transitional Deacon

I am currently in my final month of the Master of Divinity Program at Virginia Theological Seminary, and looking forward to graduation on May 11. Sent to seminary by Christ Church Pensacola, I served there as Children and Family Minister from 2018-2020, and welcome the opportunity to integrate this experience into my next chapter of service in God’s church. My ministry passions are the inclusion of persons with disabilities within faith communities, liturgical planning and education, and the incorporation of the arts into worship and Christian formation. I continue to be loved and supported by my beautiful family – husband David, son Douglas (17), and daughters Sally (16) and Katie (5). The Leahey Family is deeply grateful to everyone in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast for their sustained prayers and care throughout our seminary journey.

Ryan Lee

Transitional Deacon

I am a Florida native who grew up outside of the diocese, but found my way to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast through the works of the Holy Spirit and the grace given me by Bishop Russell, the Commission on Ministry, and Standing Committee. I am forever grateful for the confidence the diocese continues to place in me as I continue down the path of ordained ministry. I am currently a senior at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX and will graduate in May with a Master of Divinity, concentration in Latinx Ministries. Prior to seminary I worked for law enforcement for 17 years and was also very active in my home parish in music ministry, sacramental ministries, and ministries with people who are marginalized. Through God’s rich grace I have joined the order of deacons and look forward to seeing where God will lead me in this journey of faith.

Stephen Pecot

Transitional Deacon

I am a native of New Orleans and have lived in Fairhope, Alabama since 2009, attending St. Paul's Daphne and St. James Fairhope. I first heard the call to ordained ministry when I was 16, and answered it at age 49. During those 33 years, I graduated from LSU with Bachelor and Master degrees, raised four amazing kids, and had a successful career in forestry and environmental consulting. You may have seen me around Cursillo-related events, having served as a musician for numerous weekends and reunions and served on the diocesan Cursillo Commission for several years prior to entering seminary (sending parish St. Paul’s, Daphne). I will receive my Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in May. My wife, Travis Youngblood Pecot, and I are looking forward to returning to our diocese and being closer to family and friends (especially our beautiful, new granddaughter).


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