St. John’s welcomes new priest

Bishop David Ashdown was there, a large part of her family sat attentively in the first few pews and, most importantly, she felt God was smiling down upon all of them.
To say the least, Georgina Connor’s ordination service Sunday evening at St. John’s Anglican Church here was an “emotional” experience.
“I guess that’s the only word,” said Connor, now one of four priests in the local Anglican congregation. “It was a beautiful service.”
For Connor, who was born in Fort Frances and both baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church, Sunday evening’s ordination service was the culmination of eight years of hard work and perseverance.
“I did feel that it was a call from God for me to do this, so I kept studying and studying,” said Connor, who was ordained a deacon two years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
“I took every opportunity that I could to go to Bible studies and meetings, clergy retreats, and seminars.
“I just kept learning more.”
Nonetheless, Connor admitted there were times when she had questioned whether or not God wanted her to become a priest. But those doubts have now vanished.
“When it happened, that was my answer,” Connor said. “I guess that’s what made it so emotional.”
Fr. Wayne McIntosh, who first met Connor when he arrived in Fort Frances four years ago, said Sunday’s service was a celebration of “how far she has come and how much she has developed.”
“We’re very proud of Georgina,” Fr. McIntosh said. “She’s worked very hard and we are very proud of her accomplishment.
“[The ordination] was a real celebration of Georgina’s ministry and I think that certainly came out in the service,” he added. “It was really a wonderful occasion for Georgina.”
Connor said the fact many of her family members, including some of her children and grandchildren, were on hand for the service made the ceremony that much more special.
“It’s a great feeling that they support me,” she said, adding her mother was very influential in her interest in religion and that she likes to share her faith with her children and grandchildren, as well.
“They have supported me all along. It’s just a wonderful feeling that they were there with me.”
One person who was not in the pews Sunday, but made his presence felt nonetheless, was Connor’s late husband, Brian, who died of lung cancer about 10 years ago.
“You do have that feeling at these special occasions that his spirit is around,” Connor said.
Her husband also was a member of the church and his death led Connor to step up her involvement with the local congregation.
“That’s when I really started to do more in the church,” she said. “I needed it then.”
In her brief stint as a deacon, Connor was able to oversee funerals and administer baptisms, but could not marry couples nor prepare the bread and wine for communion.
For Connor, who visits the ill on a regular basis, it’s exciting to think she’ll be able to share communion with those individuals now.
“It makes me part of what God wants us to do on Earth, what he created us for,” she said.
Fr. McIntosh said sharing her faith with those who are physically unable to go to church is one of Connor’s strengths.
“She’s very sensitive and very compassionate,” he noted. “She works very well with people in hospitals or people experiencing life-threatening illnesses.
“She’s able to be a real presence for them.”
As one of her first duties as a priest, Connor is set to give a sermon at the service this coming Sunday morning.
“I’m just working on it now,” she said Monday. “I had it written out before but now I’m just finalizing it.”