On Saturday, June 20, 2020, during a liturgy celebrating the Feast of Bernard Mizeki (transferred from June 18), Archbishop Melissa Skelton ordained Leah Skuro to the diaconate. With the 25th anniversary of the Ordination of Deacons in the diocese just passed two days prior, Deacon, the Reverend Leah Skuro is the first deacon ordained in the second 25 years. She shared her ordination with Steve Black and Amanda Ruston who were ordained to the transitional diaconate. (Their answers to the following interview questions may be found here).
Having completed her pre-ordination internship at Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster, Rev. Skuro returns to the congregation that raised her up for ordination, All Saints', South Burnaby.
Many thanks to Rev. Skuro for taking the time to answer these questions that may serve to introduce her to the Diocese of New Westminster and beyond:
In 50 words or less please describe how you came to faith?
I was raised in the Anglican Church. As a cradle Anglican I went to church faithfully every Sunday and found church to be a very safe place to be, and that when I prayed for something God always listened. Then life took me down a very bad path and I found myself at the brink of death, I had been through every type of abuse you can imagine. There I was with two daughters and nowhere to turn when I remembered that I had turned away from the church so I went back terrified that I would be turned away. I was so wrong, the people at All Saints', Burnaby took us in and loved me until I could love myself they helped me get help for my addiction. Slowly but surely I started to get well, my body healed first then my emotions and with it my faith grew increasingly. Again and again, God was answering my prayers put me on a path to where I am today. I was able to help my children by being a better mother and I am now a Great-Grandmother. I am 33 years clean and will never forget what God has done in my life.
Was there a particular moment or experience that signaled that you were being called to ordained ministry, or was it a gradual development?
It was on a night that I was volunteering in the Women’s prison when one of the women thanked me for what I do at the jail and that she found that I had a gift of loving the unlovable. Then when I was praying one night the lord told me that I must work for him now and no one else. It was gradual but the Lord kept knocking so when my life felt the time was right I answered.
How would you describe the discernment process, what surprised you, what challenged you?
Well my process was very long as there were many bumps along the way but it eventually came through in God's time. The only challenges I had were my own self-confidence with which I was helped through internships, thanks to Archdeacon Richard Leggett, Vicar of Holy Trinity, New Westminster.
Describe your theological education? Do you think it has prepared you for ministry?
My education consists of: Eduction for Ministry (EfM), many courses at Vancouver School of Theology (VST), my involvement in the diocese, my work as an addictions councillor working with women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastsidse (DTES), and my own school of hard knocks. My internship at Holy Trinity was eye- opening as well. Yes this has prepared me .
Although it’s very early days, how would you describe your ministry style?
My style is to be like Jesus, to love unconditionally and be human with everyone.
Are there any individuals who have inspired, supported, guided you in your journey?
Yes, there are many women who have inspired me as well as many clergy with whom I have been fortunate to work with.
Which passage from scripture best illustrates your call to ministry?
Psalm 116 and Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect."
How do you see your ministry developing over the next five years?
I am hoping to do some connecting in our community letting them know we are in the neighborhood, and to connect with other churches around All Saints, Burnaby to see if we can do shared ministry.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I would like to add a great big thank you to anyone who helped me along the way. God's Blessings on you all.