Rev. Jessie Vaughn
An article by Joyce Ashley
From November 2002
Vernon Daily Record
For almost as long as she can remember. Jessie Vaughn has wanted to serve the Episcopal Church in some manner. Last month, Vaughn saw fulfillment of her wishes when she was ordained a Deacon in the clitirch.
She serves Grace Episcopal Church here, and is the first woman Deacon for the local congregation.
“My mother was an Episcopalian, and my father was a non-practicing Roman Catholic, but I was brought up in the Episcopalian belief,” said Vaughn. “I have always felt a real call in my heart to do something like this.”
A daughter of Thomas and Jessie Sanpietro, Vaughn was born in Waterloo, NY. She graduated from Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls, N.Y. and attended William Smith College.
In 1960, Jessie and Bobby Vaughn were married. The couple met while Bobby was stationed in New York in the United States Army. A son of Jim and
Irene R. Vaughn, Bobby Vaughn was born in Odell and graduated from Vernon High School in 1956. When he retired from service in 1979, the Vaughns moved to Vernon. Bobby passed away in 1997.
Jessie has four children: Jessie Limon and Bobby Vaughn, both of Vernon, Linda McCoy of Wichita Falls and James Vaughn of Kingsford, Mich. She also has it grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
After her husband passed away Jessie began thinking seriously of an ordained ministry in the church. She became a licensed Lay Eucharistic minister, then in 1998, she decided to enter the program to become a deacon. She subsequently delayed her work for a year as she worked through grief over the death of her husband, and in 2000, she re-entered the program.
Vaughn was required to complete 1,000 hours of study in education for ministry, which she did at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Lubbock. The processalso included medical and psychological examinations and interviews with the Bishop, Commission on Ministry and Bishops Advisory Committee on Applicants for Ministry (BACAM).
Vaughn was ordained as a deacon on Oct 27, 2002. She will have until May to acquire her certificat:e for education for ministry.
Grace Episcopal Church, which Vaughn serves, is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, a large Diocese including almost 30 towns such as Amarillo, Lubbock, Vernon, childress, Quanab, Abilene, Andrews, Big Spring, Midland, Levelland, Dalhart, Pampa and Sweetwater. The Rev. Mary Whitfield serves as priest of the church. Whit-field who lives in Medicine Mound, was ordained in October 2001. She officiates at Grace Episcopal Church to administer the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Vaughn finds her role fulfilling.
"Deacons offer themselves in service to all people of the community” she said.
Vaughn noted that her duties include assisting the priest by leading the prayer of the people, leading the Confession, reading the Gospel, setting the altar for the Eucharist and administering the chalice.
“I cannot consecrate the sacraments of the Eucharist and cannot administer a blessing,” said Vaughn. She further explained that she is allowed to perform marriage ceremonies as long as communion is not involved. She can also perform baptisms and for funerals. She is required to preach in the church four times each year.
“I also have a ministry in community volunteering for the United Samaritan Service of Vernon, and I am leading the congregation in doing that as well,”
After the first of the year, Vaughn will also assist at the recently-opened pregnancy center here.
While Vaughn receives no compensation from the church for her services, she was supported financially by the congregation during her training.
Vaughn would like to be a Canon IX Priest in the future. With the training she has already undergone, this could take as little as an additional year Currently, however, she is enjoying her duties.
While many at her age — Vaughn is 61 — may be anticipating a quiet retirement, Vaughn is busy setting goals for the future.
Among priority items is growth of the church with the hope that more children will become members.
“We have very few children right now,” she explained.
Vaughn would also like to make the church more visible in the community, and additionally, she would like to see a Hispanic ministry.
"As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, that attitude of servanthood is what I hope to accomplish,” said Vaughn. “I believe it is what God has called me to do.”
Father Jim Aveni of Clarendon is our current supply priest providing Holy Eucharist on the third sunday of every month.
Thomas Keith has currently been raised up as a postulent for the priesthood for ordination after training for the congregation of Grace Episcopal Church of Vernon.
For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- I Timothy