Congratulations to the Venerable Deborah Kraft who will be honoured by Thorneloe University and receive a Doctorate of Sacred Theology at Convocation this October.

Archdeacon Deborah Kraft serves as the Incumbent of St. Paul’s, Thunder Bay which is one of the flagship parishes in the Diocese of Algoma.  Since October 2012 she also serves as the Archdeacon for Thunder Bay/North Shore Deanery. She is a graduate of Thorneloe University, having graduated with a B.Th in May 2002. During her studies at Thorneloe she received the Peterson Ministry Scholarship (Sept. 2000) and the Thorneloe Alumni Scholarship (Sept. 2001). She was ordained as a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada (Algoma Diocese) on January 28th, 2001, and as a Presbyter on May 6th, 2002.

Archdeacon Deborah has lived and ministered in the Thunder Bay area since 1995 and is passionate about fostering healthy and vital congregations in the north. Before Deborah became the incumbent at St. Paul’s she served in the three point Parish of West Thunder Bay where under her charge she implemented a parish council, Annual Report, Newsletters, weekly Bible study, Alpha program, Men’s group, women’s fellowship, servers training, a choir, and special liturgical services. In her care the parish moved from being a part time charge to a full time incumbency with plans for the expansion of the parish.

She moved to St. Paul’s in 2005 and, in her care, the parish has grown from strength to strength where growth, spirituality and joyful worship are the major themes. The parish have a strong sense of who they are and hold onto their vision which is to be “Ambassadors For Christ”. Part of that vision includes a strong focus on spiritual formation. St. Paul’s offers weekly learning events of all kinds in the parish called – “Food for the Soul” and they are usually very well attended. Deborah also offers an annual ‘New Testament Boot Camp’ (an intensive learning experience) for the deanery, and for years the Rev. Dr. John Harvey, and then the Rev. Dr. Bob Derrenbacker were invited to lead this Boot Camp. Because Thunder Bay is so far from the ‘centre’ of the Diocese it is not easy for people to travel for these kinds of learning opportunities. Cost is also a factor for many people.  Being able to provide these intensive short courses in New Testament studies in a local setting has been a huge asset for the Thunder Bay deanery. Much of it is thanks to Deborah’s desire to see people grow in their faith, knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scriptures.  In addition to this, she arranges Lenten and Advent Quiet Days for the parish and deanery annually.

In recent years Deborah has also developed a beautiful friendship with Bishop Lydia Mamakwa from Mishamikoweesh Spiritual Area. Together they have developed a pastoral ministry to the Cree people who come from reserves near the James Bay coast. The Diocese of Algoma has named ‘Reconciliation’ with Indigenous people as a priority over the past two years and Deborah has been instrumental in fostering and growing positive relationships with the Cree people, including Cree prayers in the Sunday worship and the training and formation of Cree leadership.

In the Diocese of Algoma, Deborah is a member of the Executive Committee and is chair of the Canons and Constitutions Committee.

She is a vibrant person with a strong faith who lives out Thorneloe’s motto about being a lifelong learner, and encourages others to be lifelong learners too.