What is a “deacon?” How is a deacon different from a priest? What do deacons do? How does one find a deacon?
The Holy Scriptures and ancient Christian writers make it clear that from the apostles’ time, there have been different ministries within the Church. There are three distinct orders of ordained ministers that have been characteristic of Christ’s holy catholic Church.
To represent Christ in his Church particularly as apostle, chief priest and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the whole the Church;
To proclaim the Word of God; To act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; And to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry. BCP pg. 855
To represent Christ and his Church particularly as pastor to the people; To share with the Bishop in the overseeing of the Church; To proclaim the gospel; To administer the sacraments; To bless and declare pardon in the name of God. BCP pg. 856
To represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; To assist Bishops and Priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments. BCP Pg. 856
Proclaim the Gospel Set the table Clear the table Dismiss the people Serve as the Bishop’s chaplain If there is a Deacon present, only the Deacon should perform these functions.
Absolution Blessing Consecration Ordination Being in charge of a congregation
Preach the diaconal message of Christ Inspire others to fulfill their Baptismal Covenant Empower others to do God’s work here on earth Enable others to access resources necessary for God’s work Assist in writing the Prayers of the People
Raise up and support lay outreach ministers Support Outreach Committee Exemplify outreach in personal ministry Assist in gathering data on outreach alternatives Mentor follow-up groups to hands-on outreach Lead/facilitate participation in community programs
Train and supervise Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors Teach and enable Christian Education Take Communion to the hospitalized and homebound Enable Bible study programs Train Acolytes
Prepare Lay-readers and Lectors Duties appointed by the Proper Liturgies for Special Days (Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) Perform other functions specific to the Bishop and the individual congregation.
A Deacon will NOT take your place A Deacon will not do all the outreach in a congregation A Deacon is not an assistant priest or parish secretary
Deacons often have secular employment. Deacons in our diocese are employed as nurses, teachers, insurance salespersons, and consultants. Others are retired from positions in medicine, tax, art, and correction among others.
“I am convinced that there are at least two deacons in every congregation who do not yet know that they are called to this. It is the delightful and diligent task of all the people to look for them Roderick B. Dugliss, Dean email@example.com www.sfd.edu The School for Deacons Ordination of Cindy Long June 2007
Discernment The congregation has the responsibility to help its members in discerning a call to ministry—lay and ordained. We are used to waiting for someone to say, “I think God is calling me to be a deacon.” Today we are seeking more and more for the community of faith to be the initiator of this process. Call to ministry comes from many sources. You can be one of those sources.
Learn about the Diaconate 1) Read the section of “an Outline of the Faith commonly called the Catechism” on The Ministry. [Book of Common Prayer, pp. 855- 856]
2) Review your Baptismal Covenant. [Book of Common Prayer, pp. 304-305] 3) Read The Examination in the Rite for the Ordination of a Deacon [Book of Common Prayer, p. 543]
4) Read the national church Title II Canons, particularly Number 6, “The Ordination of Deacons” and Number 7, “The Life and Ministry of Deacons.” You can most readily get this text from the Episcopal Church website, www.episcopalchurch.org.
5) Talk to two or more deacons. Diaconal ministry has varied enough expressions that you need to hear from several perspectives. 6) Read about the diaconate Many Servants by Ormond Plater Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order, by James M. Barnett
7) Visit the Website www.episcopaldeacons.orgwww.episcopaldeacons.org This is the website for the Association for Episcopal Deacons. You will find their newsletter, event information, as well as information about the diaconate, opportunities for on-line classes, and what deacons are doing. 8) Visit www.sfd.edu to learn about formation at the School for Deacons.www.sfd.edu
9) Visit the page for deacons at www.norcalepiscopal.org or www.norcalepiscopal.org on Facebook at Deacons in Northern California See what our Deacons do and who they are.
Invite an Area Deacon to serve, preach and explain Southwest Deanery: Phina Borgeson, Cookie Clark, Pam Moore, Susan Reeve Northeast Deanery: Aileen Aidnik, Tina Campbell Dave Ferrell and Lew Powell Superior or Semper Virens: Cookie and Lew
look for Baptized persons who are Disciple Formed Gospel Centered Mission Driven who passionately Find Christ in the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned Lead Christian people in loving care of the poor, sick, lonely, and needy Defend those who have no helper
We are all called to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving neighbor as self.” Deacons have the willingness, skills, and ability to guide, direct, coax, and coach all of us in both seeking-seeing Christ where we may not want to, and may not be able to – and serving. Deacons don’t – and can’t – do it all themselves. They lead us all so that the world is served in Christ and in the name of Christ.
Making Disciples, Raising up Saints & Transforming Communities for Christ.
Acknowledgements The Rev. Canon Tina Campbell The Ven. Cookie Clark The Deacon in Our Midst and Dean Rod Dugliss, The School for Deacons