St. Dunstan’s Episcopal welcomes new rector

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The Church of St. Dunstan in Mineola will install a new rector on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3:30 p.m. at 800 N. Johnson. A reception will follow.

Bishop Fraser W. Lawton, who hails from Peace River, Alberta, Canada came to Texas on sabbatical shortly after Fr. Thomas Pantle retired in May 2018. During this time, Bishop Lawton led the church, as the Vestry initiated its search for a new rector.

In the following months, it became clear that the Bishop’s warmth and charisma were vital to the life of the parish family and would be such a blessing to the Church of St. Dunstan. 

While in East Texas, Bishop Lawton and his wife, Veronica fell in love with the friendliness of the people, the energy at St. Dunstan and of all things, the heat.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. George R. Sumner, Bishop for the Diocese of Dallas, commented in a recent letter to St. Dunstan’s, “The Lawtons bring many gifts, and I foresee a time of great fruitfulness and creativity, a new season in St. Dunstan’s ministry.” 

Under the direction of Bishop Lawton St. Dunstan will become a second Cathedral in the Diocese of Dallas, known as a pro-cathedral. Bishop Sumner added, “For our Lord is calling St. Dunstan to a leadership role in East Texas on behalf of our other congregations. This expanded role will become more fully developed after Bishop Lawton’s arrival in September.

Bishop Lawton and Veronica will make their home in Mineola and welcome all to attend the Church of St. Dunstan and become part of the church family.

Lawton was born in Saskatoon into a Christ-centered Anglican home. His family moved to Alberta when he was 8-years-old, and he has continued to live there, except for his university years. He was blessed with a wide variety of church experiences through his childhood, including the influence of the 1970s charismatic movement in North American Anglicanism.

He felt a call to ordained ministry at a young age and entered the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon immediately after completing a Bachelor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan. 

He was ordained deacon in 1993 and priest in 1994 and has served his entire ordained ministry in the Diocese of Athabasca. He served in three parishes, with the majority of the time at St. Thomas’, Fort McMurray. St Thomas’ was a non-traditional church in many ways, open to the active expression of gifts of the Spirit, contemporary worship and new or different ways of expressing the gospel. 

In the last few years as rector, Fraser and his wife Veronica led the youth ministry in the parish, and were delighted to see amazing spiritual growth and the emergence of the gifts and leadership of the young people. 

Fraser has served on the College Council for Emmanuel and St. Chad, Council of General Synod, Province of Rupert’s Land Executive, every General Synod since Montreal, and Provincial Synod.

He has also been an advisor for Women’s Aglow (now Aglow) and has led various workshops including six Anglican Renewal Ministries (ARM) clergy and lay leadership training events. He was a member of the ARM Board for two years. 

In 2010, the Lawtons left Fort McMurray and moved to Peace River, where he was consecrated bishop and began this new ministry.

Fraser and Veronica have four children. Fraser is a sports fan, enjoys reading and puttering (on rare occasions) in his workshop.

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