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Ethete woman to be ordained by Episcopal Church; first of her tribe to do so in Wyoming

Jun 24, 2016 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

On Saturday, June 25, Roxanne Jimerson-Friday is set to be the first American Indian woman in Wyoming to be ordained into the transitional diaconate of the Episcopal Church. The ceremony is at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Laramie. The Rt. Rev. John S. Smylie, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, presides.

Several others in the process of becoming priests will be ordained during the ceremony as well. Jimerson-Friday's ordination is a major step in the process of becoming a priest. Upon being ordained a priest, she will be the first Eastern Shoshone tribal member to do so.

Jimerson-Friday's interest in becoming a priest developed at a very young age while living as a child in New York, where her grandfather was a minister. She says ministry has always been a part of her life. Her brother-in-law, the Rev. Rawlin Friday, also from the Wind River Indian Reservation, was ordained a priest in December 2015.

Jimerson-Friday is part of the Seneca Nation of New York, on her father's side, and part of the Shoshone Tribe of Wyoming on her mother's side. She was born in Lander, lived in New York until she was 10, and then moved back to Wyoming. She and her husband, Aaron Friday, live in Ethete.

Her interest in becoming ordained started when she realized she has "always been the person that people turn to when they are in need, she said. In more recent times, she said she witnessed a miracle when her grandson almost died. She and her family were told he wouldn't make it but "saw so much change from prayer. He survived. It was a true miracle.

"It was one of those points where you say, 'I promise I'll go to church more if you help me, God.' I made that promise with my whole heart and then everything seemed to fall into place like a path was made just for me."

She said she never really felt like she was doing what she was supposed to until now.

Jimerson-Friday has been thinking about her goals after becoming ordained.

"I am really in God's hand's. Wherever he is leading me, that is the path I am taking. When I look into the future I feel that I am going to bring peace and a sense of healing."

She said she feels she can help alleviate friction in the tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation. She wants to bring peace and healing.

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