Let Us Give Thanks: Rev. Deacon Penny Cummine

By: The Rev. Canon Donna Joy

After careful prayer and discernment, Rev. Deacon Penny Cummine is stepping down from many of her diaconal ministries at St. Alban’s, Kenora including Outreach Committee, Friday Food with Friends, and weekly vesting at worship along with offering a regular Deacon’s Moment. The goal for this Deacon’s Moment is to identify the needs of the world within the context of the regular Sunday liturgical gathering. Anyone who is acquainted with Penny knows how important this is to her. Penny suggests that certain significant events unfolding in her life have led to this decision. For now, she plans to continue her involvement in guiding a parishioner through a process of discernment, Worship Planning Team, and occasionally participating in liturgical leadership.

The news of this decision has sparked a deeply felt need to give thanks to God for Penny’s faithful diaconal ministries over the years. I have been personally acquainted with Penny for about 25 years, although our paths have crossed only occasionally during that time. For this reason, I have spoken with The Venerable Jim Dugan to help me clarify the details for which we give thanks as we recall Penny’s long and faithful diaconal ministries. There is much for which we may be grateful.

Jim says that – in his opinion – Penny’s Ordination to the Diaconate was a natural reflection and outcome of her longstanding lay ministries; primarily, her focus on issues of justice and poverty. This passion has been expressed through her involvement with PWRDF (Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund), along with travels to India, China, and Mexico. Penny also served as Director of Saakaate House, a shelter for women and their children who are experiencing violence in their lives and seeking shelter.

Throughout the wider church (diocesan and beyond), Penny has served as a Diocesan and General Synod Delegate, and Ministry Developer in the Diocese of Keewatin.

In the parish setting, Penny takes her liturgical diaconal role seriously and has been faithful in her commitment to that aspect of her ministry. She has facilitated the Outreach Committee, and has been active in assisting that committee to identify outreach projects which include starting a comprehensive Christmas hamper program, along with initiating the Bridges out of Poverty and Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World programs. This work toward systemic changes complements the outreach ministries offered to the community. Penny also wears her ‘Deacon’s hat’ regularly at vestry. Jim says she is, “Always encouraging vestry to think beyond the walls of the building.”

Penny is also committed to life-long learning, both for herself and others. She is often taking and encouraging others to make good use of educational opportunities. Penny continues to be a voracious reader. As Jim says, “She has not slowed down…”

I believe it is fair to say that Penny faithfully embodies the vocation of a deacon. She has carried out all these faithful diaconal ministries while also raising children, helping with, supporting, and enjoying grandchildren, painting watercolours, playing the ukulele… and, I’m sure, the list could go on.

I agree with Jim Dugan who says, “Penny encourages people – leads people – across that bridge into the wider world to share Christ’s love beyond the congregation.” Indeed, she is a deacon who leads us into specific habits that help us to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

So, Rev. Deacon Penny, well done, good and faithful servant. While we celebrate and give thanks for what has been, we also look forward to what is yet to come…



The Rev. Canon Donna Joy has participated in and led numerous ministries throughout the diocese and national church since her ordination in 1990. She is passionate about remaining rooted in the ancient teachings of our faith and discovering how that is to be made manifest within our current post Christendom context. At the moment she is serving as Intentional Interim Priest at St. Alban’s Cathedral in Kenora.

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