The Rev. Gayle Pershouse’s ordination to the transitional diaconate this past November was an occasion for inspiration and redemption for many in the diocesan community and beyond, given the circumstances of her decades-long journey toward ordination. (Read the Dec. 18 story here.)
For more than two years, she has been living with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It has progressed significantly in recent weeks. When Pershouse was hospitalized in early February, the May 23 date projected for her ordination to the priesthood became markedly uncertain.
Accordingly, Bishop Alan M. Gates proceeded to ordain her a priest on Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington. Also present were her family; the Rev. Miriam Gelfer and the Rev. Sarah Conner, her pastors at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester; the Rev. Canon Edie Dolnikowski, on behalf of the diocesan community; and Diocese of Maine Bishop Thomas Brown, her pastor for the past decade.
“We are aware that there are many others who would have wished to be present had circumstances made that possible; nonetheless, please know that the prayers and love of so many of you were evident. The service was extraordinary. We were blessed to have Gayle celebrate her first service of Holy Eucharist at that time,” Gates said in a Feb. 6 e-mail announcement to diocesan clergy and leadership groups.
Pershouse is now receiving care at a hospice facility. “Please continue to pray for Gayle, her husband, Frank Vaughan, and their family during this tender time,” Gates said. Cards and notes are most welcome and may be sent to her in care of the Parish of the Epiphany, 70 Church Street, Winchester MA 01890.