AED Board - 2022 Election
Kristen A. Wheeler
Present Employment: Self-employed
Current Ministries: Holy Hounds (therapy dog ministry), Bridge House (recovery house), Ministry of Saints (iconography/teaching)
Current Church Assignment: St. Michael's Episcopal Church Mandeville, LA (field education for seminary)
Previous Positions: Communications manager for three different Episcopal Churches at various times
Education: Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (current); Full Sail University, Associate of Science
Prior Board Experience: Advisory board for two different colleges in Orlando Florida, leadership positions in Episcopal Church
Skill sets: Community, organizing, leadership, teaching, public speaking, working artist, creative writer, ministry leader and developer
How do you envision contributing to the AED Board? What are your special talents and gifts?
As a future deacon about to start a second year of seminary in the IONA program through Seminary of the Southwest, I feel I offer a unique perspective. I’ve experienced much in my discernment and formation process and I am called to use these experiences to help others and make the system better for the people coming in behind me. We are here to lift each other up, and with a voice on the Board, I believe I can help us reach higher goals, especially aimed at younger deacons. I am an artist, writer, and iconographer who studies/teaches about the saints and holy figures. I’ve been a communications manager at three churches in the diocese of Louisiana. I am a natural leader and public speaker.
What is your vision for the future of the Association for Episcopal Deacons?
We have six active deacons in my diocese. My call to the diaconate has always been to make our presence known, educate, and inspire by example. At school, I feel like I’m not just studying for me, but for all the people who couldn’t answer their call before me. I see where the holes are in the process, holes where an opportunity for drastic change rests, not just in my diocese, but the diaconate as a whole. I tell people that “I grew up a good, quiet, little Catholic school girl and I am not here to be quiet any more.”
I recently studied Julia Chester Emery. She is an Episcopal saint who influenced many and gave up a substantial portion of her salary to keep others employed and make sure the deaconesses and missionaries were taken care of in their retirement. She fought for the canonical status of the deaconess program, fighting for deaconesses to be treated equally as canonical standing deacons. I believe I wouldn’t be doing what I am if it wasn’t for her hard work. I’m inspired by Ms. Julia and plan on using that as fuel to fight for young deacons, women deacons, and all deacons who need support and assistance going through formation, and for deacons to actually be seen as a full and equal order in areas where words simply aren’t enough. I want to inspire action and change for a better and brighter future of this call and the people who support us and love us.