Diocese of WNC
Diane Livingston Retires from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
After eight years serving as Deacon of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Diane Livingston has now discerned that retirement is calling. A dedicated and well-loved church leader, Diane leaves a legacy of charitable fellowship both within the Brevard, NC, community and beyond.
Diane and her husband, Bill, lived for many years in Mississippi and Texas before moving to North Carolina, where he served as Interim Rector of St. Alban’s, Hickory. Diane served as a Deacon for ten years in the Diocese of Mississippi, including four years with Episcopal Relief and Development working on recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. She decided to continue as a Deacon upon moving to Brevard, and was assigned to St. Philip’s Church where she has served for eight years.
The job description for Deacon in the Episcopal Church is as follows: “Deacons are ordained to a special ministry directly under the Bishop to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely. They are called to make Christ and his redemptive love known by word and example, to those among whom they live and work and worship.”
Diane is well known not only at St. Philip’s, but throughout the community and diocese, for her servant ministry to the poor and oppressed. Her passion for helping the needy and working towards justice for all has made a huge impact on Brevard and Transylvania County in numerous ways. A deacon not only serves the poor, but empowers others to do so as well.
Several years ago, Diane began “The Laundry Project” to provide free laundry access for those who cannot afford the cost of laundromat use. St. Philip’s agreed to provide the funding for the washers and dryers; Diane rounded up a crew to assist clients with doing their laundry; and Sharing House refers clients who need this service to Diane. In addition to clean clothes, new relationships are formed as a result of neighbors helping neighbors.
The Rev. Shelly Webb, Executive Director of Sharing House says, “Diane Livingston is the quintessential ordained deacon, a person who embodies grace and who gently leads people of faith out into the world to serve others.
“I think of Diane as a type of ‘spirit quilter,’ someone who can draw together many people, like beautiful pieces of fabric, which stitched together answer a need. She helped those in her church to discover their spiritual and physical gifts and match those with the needs of the community. Her sunny outlook even on the most daunting tasks made each of us believe that we could accomplish a job, such as finding a way to wash hundreds of loads of laundry for those who could not afford it.”
The Rev. Elizabeth Roles, Rector of St. Philip’s, says, “Diane is unfailingly faithful in her service to the people of St. Philip’s, the wider community, and ultimately to God’s calling on her life. I have seen her shine in pastoral ministry. In liturgy, she is a calm and flexible presence. Her lovely voice conveys the Gospel with conviction. Her preaching is accessible and wise.”
Though Diane will no longer assist in Sunday worship services, she will continue working with those issues she is passionate about, such as racial justice and the grief support group that she co-facilitates with The Rev. Marcus Dodson. Diane will be greatly missed in her role as Deacon, but will still be a visible and active leader in many community projects.
Diane and Bill have grandchildren scattered across the country and look forward to having more time to spend with their family. In 2016 they hiked the Camino in Spain, and continue to hike and explore in the WNC mountains. “We enjoy the seasons, the small community, and the varied opportunities to enjoy the arts and the beauty of nature.” The St. Philip’s congregation wishes Diane a very happy retirement!