Welcome To The Rev. Sandy Rex

 by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin

I am truly delighted to announce that the Rev. Deacon Sandy Rex will be joining the ministry team at Holy Comforter in the coming weeks.

Over the last few months, you may have noticed a friendly, smiling gentleman in clerical collar at one or another of our liturgies. Now you have a name to go with the face, if you haven't met him: the Rev. Sandy Rex! Sandy, a native of Florida and graduate of Virginia Military Institute, has served as a deacon in the Diocese of Chicago since his ordination in February of 2009, previously offering his ministry at St. James Cathedral and Church of Our Saviour on Fullerton in Lincoln Park. He is married to Susan, and is the father of four adult children. Professionally, Sandy is the President and Founder of RMI Midwest, a transportation appraisal company that focuses on assessing the valuation of railway, utility/communication, and pipeline corridors in both urban and rural areas. RMI Midwest is located in downtown Wilmette, and the Rex family lives in Evanston.

Deacon Sandy has exercised his diaconal ministry in a variety of ways, most notably in different liturgical settings and styles, and as part of a team from Chicago Urban Ministry and Life Intervention (CUMALI) that takes meals on Monday nights to the homeless people who live on Lower Wacker Drive in the Loop.  In addition, Sandy is a volunteer outreach minister for the Night Ministry, going out on their bus up to several nights a week to be present to the least and most forgotten in our area.  In fact, Deacon Sandy was honored in 2011 with the Night Ministry's Lamp Lighter Award, given to the Volunteer of the Year!

Holy Comforter has not had the experience of the regular ministry of a deacon in the past, so this will be a new adventure for many of us. The ministry of the Diaconate is an ancient and profound one. The very word "deacon" comes from the Greek word diakonia, meaning "service," and this title indicates the role a deacon plays in the life of the Church. It has been said that deacons are bridge people: that they serve to bring the world to the Church, and to bring the Church to the world. Deacons have traditionally been involved in outreach and pastoral care, providing succor and comfort to those in many kinds of need; and deacons have very particular liturgical roles, as well. It is part of a deacon's ministry to proclaim the Gospel, to bid the community of faith to gather in prayer through the Prayers of the People, and to prepare the Holy Table for the Holy Meal. Deacons assist in the administration of communion and, at the dismissal at the end of the Eucharist, send the faithful out into the world to witness to God's grace and kingdom. All of these actions Sandy will do. Other aspects of his ministry at and through Holy Comforter will unfold in the coming months; but his ministry will surely be a wonderful manifestation of the diaconal order, for he will bring to us the world's concerns and sorrows, will provide comfort and aid to those in need, and will stand as an ensign of service and self-offering.

It is important to note that deacons are not "mini-priests," or lower, so to speak, on some ecclesiastical hierarchy than are priests and bishops. The Diaconate is a fully formed order unto itself, and, like the lay, priestly and episcopal orders, has its own identity and integrity. Indeed, in the early centuries of the Church's life, deacons were more prominent than priests. Though obscured for centuries in the western Church, the Diaconate has seen a marvelous revival in recent decades as more and more people have responded to the call to ordained service.

It is with absolute delight and joy that we welcome Sandy to Holy Comforter in his new role. His presence will strengthen our ministry and witness, and his loving, grace-filled presence will be a wonderful addition to our common life.