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Christopher Becomes a Deacon

by Lionel E. Deimel


Our thoughts are turned to Christopher—

We’ve surely missed you for

A very long time.


You left our diocese,

Where anti-gay bias is

The engine of schism.


But Christopher, rhetorician,

With much erudition,

Helped counter the hatred.


We’ve soldiered on without you,

Often thinking about you

As we continued the fight;


Though we are, of course, jealous

When we hear you tell us

Of life in D.C.


Today you’re becoming a deacon,

And, in that event, we can

Truly rejoice.


Yet, we admit that our joy

Isn’t lacking alloy

Of ecclesial anxiety:


Our victory’s not won,

Our whole job’s not done,

But we are quite hopeful.


We’ll continue our task,

But, of you, we ask:

Think of us.




Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral, site of Christopher’s ordination.
Courtesy Washington National Cathedral.






It is a fact of life that good friends sometimes move on in their lives and, to some measure, move out of our own. Christopher Wilkins had been a vice president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and, for a time, was part of a triumvirate of doctorate-holding church activists (along with Joan Gundersen and me) responsible for much of the material released in PEP’s name. It was a blow, both personal and institutional, when Christopher moved to Maryland and the Diocese of Washington. The move, however, enabled Christopher to pursue more effectively his goal of being ordained in The Episcopal Church. Today, Christopher will be made a deacon at Washington National Cathedral. I am sorry I cannot be there, but my thoughts and prayers are with him.

This poem is something of an ordination gift, and one of a series of poems I’ve written for ordinands. (See “Martha’s Ordination” and “Ordination.”) I began working on the poem several days ago, beginning with the determination to rhyme “Christopher” with something. This was a hard assignment, and it led to the somewhat unusual poem above.

The Episcopal Church is being enriched today, and will be even more blessed when, six months from now, Christopher becomes a priest.

— LED, 6/13/2009

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