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Hay River woman to become first Slavey Anglican deacon

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

HAY RIVER - A Hay River woman will soon become the first person of Slavey heritage to be ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Georgina Bassett: Hay River woman to become deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Georgina Bassett will be ordained on Sept. 6 at St. Andrew's Church in Hay River.

"It's overwhelming actually," Bassett said of the thought of becoming a deacon, noting she prays she can do what God wants of her.

"It's not what I can do for the people," she said. "It's what the Lord can do through me for the people."

A deacon is often a step on the way to becoming a minister in the Anglican Church.

However, Bassett said she hasn't thought about becoming a minister

"The next step will be up to the Lord," she said. "He's the one that's directing my life."

If she does become a minister, that step could be two or three years away, and would involve taking more correspondence courses to study for the priesthood.

She is currently a lay minister at St. Andrew's and has been taking correspondence courses for a couple of years while studying to become a deacon.

As a volunteer deacon, Bassett, 53, will have some of the powers of a minister, such as the ability to perform marriages and baptisms, and will be able to use the title of reverend.

She will also assist Rev. Vivian Smith, the minister at St. Andrew's Church.

Bassett, a member of K'atlodeeche First Nation, grew up on the Hay River Reserve.

"I would love to open a church over there in the New Village," she said.

Bassett said, when she was growing up, there were a lot more Anglicans on the reserve than there are today.

Her ordination, which will be conducted by Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk of the Diocese of the Arctic, is set for 3 p.m. on Sept. 6. An official with the Diocese of the Arctic confirmed that she will be the first Slavey Anglican deacon.

After her ordination, she will continue co-ordinating the Hay River Thrift Shop and working in human resources at Bassett Petroleum, the fuel delivery company she owns with her husband, Steve.