HERE AT THE CENTRE EVERYTHING IS STILL

XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb

Here at the centre everything is still
Before the stir and movement of our grief
Which bears its pain with rhythm, ritual,
Beautiful useless gestures of relief.
So they anoint the skin that cannot feel
Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care,
Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,
With incense scenting only empty air.
He blesses every love that weeps and grieves
And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.
The love that’s poured in silence at old graves
Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,
Is never lost. In him all love is found
And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

Malcolm Guite https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2019/04/20/holy-saturday-stations-xiii-and-xiv-3/?fbclid=IwAR33GgNAAUbco8WMwettRhbE4XaIUYI3TzTZEyC6K3-WrdPgywXUtTKyEzM

MAUNDY THURSDAY: Hymn of the Bridegroom and Herbert’s The Agony

 

THE AGONY

Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.

 

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man, so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skin, his garments, bloody be.
Sin is that Press and Vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through every vein.

 

Who knows not Love, let him assay,
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.
by George Herbert 1593-1633

The Meaning of the Diaconate in the Orthodox Church

By the Editor of the Catalogue of St Elisabeth blog
The diaconate has been a little understood ministry, in fact, often a misunderstood ministry. Although it is one of three ordained orders, most lay people have little or no contact with a deacon, no idea of the history of the diaconate or what it entails today. We hope to clarify some of the questions about deacons below.

Isn’t being a deacon just a stepping-stone to the priesthood?

No, a deacon doesn’t have to become a priest.  In fact, deacons comprise a complete and distinct order of ordained ministry within the three expressions of ordained priesthood: the diaconate (i.e. deacons), the presbyterate (i.e. priests) and the episcopacy (i.e. bishops). While deacons may, and now often do, pass through to other orders (i.e. to the presbyterate and episcopacy), most deacons originally served Christ within the life of the Church as deacons the rest of their lives. Do not accept mistaken, common stereotypes of the deacon as  “an apprentice priest,” a “liturgical decoration (or functionary)” or even worse yet, “a super-acolyte!” Over the years, misconceptions have developed regarding appreciation of the diaconate, partly because it has been used in the past as a “stepping-stone to the priesthood” in an imbalanced manner. It is hoped the resources made available through this Web site describe a more healthy and correct vision of the diaconate as a “full” or “complete and distinct order” within the ordained ministry of the Orthodox Church. This is the ministry through the activity of the Holy Spirit that brings forth in a special way, the ministry of “Christ, the one who serves.”

What would a deacon do in my parish today?
In keeping with the diaconate’s tradition of the past, deacons may serve in many capacities as circumstances, needs and talents allow:  assisting their bishop, assisting with liturgical worship, music and church order, teaching, preaching, pastoral care, philanthropy, theological education, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, administration, monastic life, hospital, nursing home, and hospice chaplaincies, prison ministry, facilitating ministries to shut-ins, orphans, the poor and/or destitute (including  being available to bring Holy Communion, Holy Unction and other blessings of the Church to these just mentioned groups of people), etc.
Do not expect the deacons’ ministry to be exactly the same from one pastoral context to the next, even within the same diocese. Deacons traditionally and in a special way are ambassadors of their bishop. Through the course of history, deacons in particular, have served in many, many ways. Today as always, it is the bishop who delineates the limits and responsibilities assigned to their deacons based upon specific pastoral needs and opportunities, spiritual strengths, pastoral abilities and theological training required of the deacon serving under his authority, in fact, as an emissary, on his behalf. As with every other domain of Christian ministry, deacons are called to serve only within their assigned responsibilities and within the limits of the specific charism of their ordination, as well as their personal formation, training and abilities, nothing more nothing less. While any Christian, lay or ordained, of course, may be called to any one or more of these above-mentioned ministries, persons who are called to serve as deacons within these and other ministries, do so as servants who are called to bring forth “Christ, the one who serves.”

Why don’t we have many deacons serving in our parishes?

The diaconate has not been serving at its full potential for centuries, so many people neither know deacons nor the invaluable service they can give the community. This has been the situation for so long that, until recently, a man did not normally aspire to be a deacon, only a priest or bishop. The “Golden Age” for male deacons was before the First Ecumenical Council in 325, and for women the fourth through seventh centuries. The end of the Golden Age for male deacons began with a canon written at the First Ecumenical Council in 325.  The text of Canon 18 illustrates the growing tension among deacons, priests and bishops: “. . . let deacons remain within their proper place,” a symptom of growing clericalism in the church.  John Chryssavgis in Remembering and Reclaiming Diakonia explains that this canon “. . . marks both the historical climax of diaconal development and the commencement of a decline in the diaconal order.”Other local and ecumenical councils promulgated rules and regulations regarding deacons throughout the centuries.  The reasons for the decline of women deacons include the rise of infant baptism (in the early church women deacons assisted with the educating and baptizing of adult women) and other issues addressed under “Frequently Asked Questions — Were women deacons banned in the Orthodox Church?”
Gradually the scope of the ministry of the diaconate narrowed, with more emphasis on the liturgical role for men at the expense of more diverse responsibilities, perhaps a consequence of incorrect assumptions related to the deacon’s ministry in worship as being more “cultic” and a “superfluous decoration.”  Despite these developments, many deacons throughout the centuries gave invaluable service to the church and community in many areas, including:  education, pastoral care and counseling, chaplaincy ministries, writing, assisting the poor, founding monastic communities, spiritual guidance, preaching, administration, philanthropy, ecumenical witness, missions. and social service.  They can do the same today, and the proliferation of diaconal training programs at various Orthodox theological schools is encouraging.  Our priests and communities need their help, and their call is special. While any Christian, lay or ordained, of course, may be called to any one or more of these above-mentioned ministries, persons who are called to serve as deacons within these and other ministries, do so as servants to bring forth “Christ, the one who serves.”

What do I call a deacon?

It is correct to refer to him as “Father” or when introduced as “the Reverend Father Deacon” (so as to avoid confusion to which order of ministry he is ordained). The appellation “Father” in the Orthodox tradition acknowledges with respect the spiritual responsibilities of the person addressed. Do not call a deacon “deacon” as the normal manner of address (even if this is the usual custom in western Christian circles today), as the deacon is called to share in inter-personally intimate, loving, pastoral care corresponding in relationship to their spiritual responsibilities on behalf of the faithful.  We are aware of the ancient custom of calling non-ordained schema monks as “Father” as a way of acknowledging this kind of respect for them. While referring to the deacon as “Deacon [name]” is not incorrect, this is not unlike referring to the ordained presbyter as “priest [name]” or the hierarch as “bishop [name].”  None of these appellations are incorrect; nevertheless using these expressions as the normal ways of addressing these ordained ministers of the church, tends to be too casual and familiar (hence, disrespectful). Similarly, honoring the living history of the church and bearing in mind the witness and intercession of the many female saints who were also deacons, whenever God calls deaconesses to be ordained to serve within the life of Orthodox communities, in like manner, they would be addressed as: “Mother” or perhaps more formally introduced as “Reverend Mother Deacon.”

How are the deacon’s vestments different from a priest’s?

The most distinctive vestments of the deacon are the orarion (a narrow stole) and the epimanik(i) (detachable cuffs for the wrists). According to John Chryssavgis in Remembering and Reclaiming Diakonia, the orarion is “often embroidered and covered either with the word Agios (the Holy One) or with crosses.  It is fixed on the left shoulder and rests there, passing under the right arm and hanging down in the front as well as the back.  The deacon lifts the orarion to the height of the face as he calls the congregation to prayer, leading the faithful through the intonation of various petitions.  Immediately before Holy Communion, the deacon changes the position of the stole, crossing it in the front and back as a symbol of the seraphim covering their face in the presence of the Holy One. [Thus the oriarion is sometimes referred to as the wings of angels.] The functional reason for this particular change during the Eucharist is the preparation of the deacon in a practical manner to divide and distribute the Body and Blood of Christ. . . . The epimanik(i) are . . . worn over and cover the normal clerical dress.  The cuffs further facilitate the movement of the hands during the Divine Liturgy; indeed, they are only worn in the Divine Liturgy and on Holy Friday, when the deacons handle the Body of Christ.  Each of the cuffs bears an embroidered cross.”  The orarion and the epimanik(i) are worn over the stikharion, the long garment worn by all the orders which symbolizes the grace of baptism conferred upon all baptized Christians, except the deacon’s has shorter sleeves than that of the bishop and priest.
Isn’t a deacon’s wife called a deaconess?  Is there another kind?
Yes, a deacon’s wife is called a deaconess, but in the past there were women who were ordained to the diaconate through the Sacrament of Holy Ordination. Since the practice of ordaining women deacons in the Orthodox church largely fell into disuse many years ago, “deaconess” in the public mind is a title of respect given to the wife of the deacon.  Whenever God calls deaconesses to be ordained to serve within the life of Orthodox communities, they would be addressed as: “Mother” or perhaps more formally introduced as “Reverend Mother Deacon.” The appellation “Mother” in the Orthodox tradition acknowledges with respect the spiritual responsibilities of the person addressed.
Were women deacons banned in the Orthodox Church?  If they were ordained in the past, what happened?
No, the order of women deacons was not eliminated by a canon or a council.  For various reasons, it gradually fell into disuse, but it has not completely disappeared. Scholars can only speculate about why it declined. Kyriaki FitzGerald in Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church speculates that the decline happened for various reasons:
1) As infant baptisms increased, women were not needed to assist with the baptism of adult women.
2) There may have been reaction against early Christian-like heretical Gnostic sects that agitated for the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopacy.
3) The rise of Islam and its even stricter separation of males and females may have influenced society, especially after the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Muslim Ottomans in the fifteenth century.
4)  After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, many Orthodox scholars fled to the West  and were influenced by the Western Church that had relegated the male diaconate to an inferior ministry with only a liturgical role and temporary stage before ordination to the priesthood.  Most likely with a fear of ordaining women as presbyters and bishops in mind, some local councils in the West condemned ordination of women deacons altogether.
5) Orthodox canonists in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries reinforced canons of the third and fourth centuries that forbid women from entering the altar because they are unclean physically and spiritually during menstruation.  However, the twelfth and fourteenth century canonists acknowledge that women were ordained as deacons at the altar, but stood firm on their prohibition. These, and all other canons, have not been systematically examined since the twelfth century.
By the late Byzantine era ordination of women deacons in the Eastern Church was rare, and the ministry of the female deacon virtually ended; while the ministry of male deacons continued, but in a limited way. However the ordination rites for both ministries remain in the rubrics books, describing the sacred potential, timeless calling of this blessed ministry of service to God and the community.
If women are ordained deacons, won’t they try to become priests?
There is no historical, authoritative evidence of women ordained as priests in Orthodox Tradition.  The charisms of the presbyter (priest) and hierarch (bishop) are intimately inter-related with each other and the diaconate because they concern service to the People of God.  However, discussion of these “complete and distinct” charisms of the episcopacy and priesthood are outside the limits of attention of this Web site.
Were women ordained or appointed deacons?
The most authoritative consultation of our time, the 1988 Inter-Orthodox Theological Consultation convened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople under
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I assembled in Rhodes, Greece, concluded:  “The deaconess was ordained within the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy with two prayers, she received the orarion (the deacon’s stole) and received Holy Communion at the Altar.  The revival of this ancient order should be envisaged on the basis of the ancient prototypes testified to in many sources . . . and with the prayers found in the Apostolic Constitutions and the ancient Byzantine liturgical books.”
As explained by Kyriaki FitzGerald in Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church, the issue of ordination or appointment was controversial among some Orthodox theologians, including two leading professors from the University of Athens, Evangelos Theodorou and John Karmiris. Professor Theodorou pioneered scholarly research proving ordination in two publications in Greek only: Heroines of Christian Love (Athens, 1949) and The “Ordination” or the “Appointment” of Deaconess (Athens, 1954).  His proof is an in-depth analysis of the prayers and rubrics of the Byzantine Service for the Ordination of the Woman Deacon written in the early Middle Ages and other primary sources from the first millennium of Christianity. On the other side, Professor Karmiris argued that Canon 19 of the Council of Nicaea in 325 stated that the Paulinists deaconesses were not deaconesses because “. . . they have no imposition of hands (i.e. no ordination), [and] are to be numbered wholly among the laity.” The Paulinists were followers of Paul of Samosata, a third-century bishop who was considered to have heretical views on the Holy Trinity. It is noteworthy that the Paulinist bishops, presbyters and male deacons were not considered ordained either, and the canon dealt with how they could be reinstated. Proponents of ordination argue that this canon relates exclusively to the Paulinists and did not apply to others within the church in good standing.
Would women deacons assist in the Divine Liturgy the same as a male deacons?
Since little is known historically about the liturgical role of women, it is difficult to know if it will be the same. The scope and manner of service that the female deacon will offer within the life of the worshipping community will be determined by the overseeing hierarch who will discern the specific spiritual, pastoral and practical needs of the community at large.
Hopefully the hierarch will make this determination mindful that there is only one diaconate in the life of the church and that male and female deacons would share fully in the same love of the Source of Divine Grace who ordains them to this ministry.

DEACON’S HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY and some resources

A homily by Deacon Greg Kandra

and some resources at the end for Palm Sunday services

https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/sites/56/2012/03/palmscross-e1333191725329.jpg

When I was a kid, this was always a busy week. There was planning for the big meal next Sunday. Would it be ham or lamb? Some years, I’d have a new suit – usually a couple sizes too big, so I could grow into it. My mother would be cleaning the house for company. There were eggs to dye and chocolate to look forward to.

For a lot of us, it can still be a time for planning.

But before we get too caught up in next Sunday, we need this Sunday. We need to remember.

Remember that the crowd that cheered Jesus also condemned him.

Remember that the voices praising him also called for his death.

Remember that those who loved him and promised loyalty also abandoned him, denied him, and betrayed him.

And if you want to know who did that, just look at the palm branches in our hands.

We are guilty.

While we may not want to admit it, Christ’s Passion goes on today. Our betrayal of him continues, in ways large and small.

How often do we praise God on Sunday…and damn Him on Monday?

How often do we shrug Him off when things become too difficult or the rules too hard or the demands of the Christian life too taxing?
How often do we treat love as just a sentiment for greeting cards, and not a command for living?

How often do we see suffering in the faces of those in need, and simply turn away?

Christ continues to bleed and weep and cry out, “Why have you abandoned me?” He cries out today to us. Whatever you do to the least of these, he said, you do to me.

What do we do?

We encounter him on the subway, step over him on the sidewalk, and go out of our way to avoid him when we feel like he might make demands on our time.

At the office, we make jokes at his expense, or spread gossip about him at the water cooler. We suck up to people who are more popular, or attractive, or influential at work – and barely give the unimportant person who answers the phone the time of day.

Whether we realize it or not, we see Jesus every day, read about him in the papers, hear about him in the news. He is everywhere there is someone who is small, or neglected, or disrespected, or discarded.

He is with the unwanted and unloved, the bullied and abused.

“Why have you abandoned me?”

Do we hear him?

We find ways to justify our choices. But it can’t be denied. Whenever we choose death over life, sin over the gospel, popularity over integrity, indifference or disdain over love – in short, whenever we have turned away from Christ – we who claim to believe in him have, instead, betrayed him.

We have said, “Give us Barabbas.”

We have said, in effect, “Crucify him.”

And we have done it with palms in our hands and the echoes of “Hosanna” in the air.

We need this Sunday to remember that.

And we need these palms as a reminder – and a challenge.

They remind us that we are called to be heralds of Christ – to celebrate him the way they did that day in Jerusalem.

And these palms challenge us to keep crying “Hosanna,” to keep proclaiming the Good News – even when the world tempts us to do otherwise, even when it seems like it would be easier to go with the crowd and simply choose Barabbas.

These palms challenge us to not turn our back and walk away. They challenge us to not step over Christ, or ignore him. And they challenge us not only to remember what we have done to him, but what he has done for us.

That is what this week is about.

Before we look ahead to next Sunday, and the big plans and the big meal, look back. And look within.

And look to these palms.

Look at what we are called to do…and who we are called to be.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2012/03/homily-for-april-1-2012-palm-sunday/

Impressive information about Deacon Greg! https://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/about/

Resources

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/churchs-year/times-and-seasons/passiontide-and-holy-week#mmm151

http://www.allageworshipresources.org/tag/palm-sunday/

http://www.going4growth.com/growth_through_the_year/palm-sunday

https://ideas.brf.org.uk/easter-palm-sunday

 

ORDINANDS AND CURATES SHARE REFLECTIONS ON BAP

Image result for a bap

Nooo – not this sort!

Priest candidates have a wealth of experience and reading to tap into before they go to a Bishops’ Advisory Panel.  However, because we are still few in number, and many places don’t have much understanding of the diaconate, there are precious few resources to help diaconal candidates to prepare.

In line with this blog’s mission of finding or creating resources where there are none, a number of deacons who have recently been recommended for training or are recently ordained swap their experiences in a way they hope will be helpful and practical.

  • WHAT I LEARNED AT BAP
  • Be yourself! Always be natural.  Let the advisers see the real person
  • Remember that you are not in competition with others (its not like a job interview!) so support one another
  •  Listen to all instructions about worship, mealtimes etc given in the introductory session
  • Candidates won’t get the same questions,  as these will be tailor-made for individuals
  • Don’t stereotype assessors:  they are all different although all are working towards a common goal, which is to discover God’s calling to you
  • When asked a question, don’t try and second-guess what the selector might want you to say.  You’re not trying to get through an exam!
  • Always have a bash at an answer:  dig deep and be as honest as possible.  Patch together what you know that seems relevant but if you don’t know, just say so
  • 3 advisors asked me “why deacon and not priest?” and “why not lay ministry?” There wouldn’t have been much point in attending the panel if I hadn’t thought that through! **(see below)
  • I wonder if many of us have a sense that a deacon is what we are and have always been? If you do feel like that, then that will give you plenty to talk about but be prepared to give concrete, practical examples of the ways in which you see this working itself out in your attitudes and activities
  • Be prepared to pray for those you meet and don’t compare yourself with anyone else
  • I found I needed to look interested by sitting forward in discussion. I sat back and listened to others to allow them opportunity to be heard too and the comment was that I looked disinterested when in fact I joined in and was very interested!
  • Definitely be yourself. Enjoy it . . . lots of interesting people to meet. You will be tired afterwards so plan how you will get home
  • Believe in yourself and trust in God – if you are being obedient to God’s call he will be with you.  You’re unique and God calls you as you are
  • My BAP group exercise featured a lot of current affairs questions so I was glad I had prepared by reading ‘The Week’ magazine. I found a good phrase to use in 1:1s is “let me give you an example of that” (provided you have them!) to stop yourself being too abstract!
  • I needed to take my time over the pastoral care exercise, to read and think about it. I was advised to use the Action Reflection cycle for it and that really helped me think through what was happening, what scripture was relevant and how I could respond. For the discussion after your presentation be prepared to really lead this. Think of some extra prompts as well as your initial question which you can use if you need to, and of course ensure you bring in anyone quiet and kindly move on from anyone hogging it!
  • Take an easy book to read or something else that will help you unwind. And it is ok to say ‘I don’t know ‘ in the interviews rather than flanneling, the selectors are looking for potential and what inspires you, not perfection
  • Be friendly with other candidates and sociable but leave time for rest and reflection. One interview or part may not go well or as you would like but do not let it affect the rest
  • Before you go to BAP, check out with your DDO what pastoral support there is in place, should you not be recommended
  • First, last and all the way through:  pray and make sure you have lots of people praying for you.  Their prayers and support will give you strength

**If you’re stuck, take a look at these resources:

Read the Ordinal and the selection criteria, both available on the Ministry Division website, and prepare accordingly.  In addition you can find the Exeter draft for deacons here:  https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/diaconal-selection-criteria-and-learning-outcomes-dispositions/

The ordinal:  https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/ministry/common-worship-ordination-services#mm012

In addition, these might be helpful:  on diaconal distinctiveness:  https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/what-is-the-distinctive-diaconate-answering-some-questions/

Sarah Gillard-Faulkner on why she is not a priest:  https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/not-called-to-priesthood-deacon-sarah-gillard-faulkner/

Corinne Smith’s reflection on 20 years as a deacon:  https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/20-years-a-deacon-2/

There’s a collection of relevant resources on the USEFUL BOOKS AND PAPERS tab (right hand side of screen):   https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/some-useful-books-and-papers/

especially Paul Avis’s paper on the diaconate as a ‘flagship ministry‘ and Rosalind Brown on ‘theological underpinnings.’  All Rosalind’s stuff is really helpful and relevant – read Being a Deacon Today.  Also read the Mission and Ministry of the Whole Church and For Such a Time as This.  If you get through these then you’ll have an outline idea of diaconal theology.

And remember – God is always with you, loves and values you and will guide you in his way for you, whatever the outcome.

Related image

 

PODCASTS FROM THE WYDALE DEACONS’ CONFERENCE

I’m so pleased that Deacon David Clark’s talks are now available through the Diocese of York website.  (Thanks to Deacon Liz Carrington)

Please note that the talks are wrongly numbered:  #3 is in fact the first talk, #1 is second and #2 is third.

Becoming a diaconal church:  broadening the vision.

BECOMING A DIACONAL CHURCH: BROADENING THE VISION Wydale conference 2019

Deacons’ Conference 22-24th March 2019 Wydale Hall

Becoming a Diaconal Church – Broadening the Vision 

David & Susan Clark 2019

Deacon David and Susan Clark

Distinctive deacons from York diocese and beyond were presented with an inspirational vision of an outward facing church by Methodist deacon David Clark. Formerly a presbyter, he is passionate about the renewal of the church as movement rather than institution. The way forward for the church is more than the cure of souls. In a world beset by social fragmentation, he believes solutions can only develop via strong communities. “It’s building community or bust” he said, but “community is a benign aerosol word we squirt on everything.” And so to unpack it…

He identified strong communities as those shaped by relationships, feelings, values and beliefs which is where theology comes in.  Theology addresses the communal dilemma, moving its dark side away from insularity and sectarianism towards openness, inclusion, and acceptance of diversity.  All people matter and each counts.

David pictures the diaconal church as a servant of the Kingdom community with deacons as mission enablers and the laity in pole position as messengers and community builders. Deacons have a key role to play in nurturing life, love, liberation and learning as the gifts of the Kingdom and noticing where these already exist outside church. The church exists to make these gifts real in people’s experience in everyday life and relationships.

Hear David’s talks:  https://soundcloud.com/dioceseofyork

Wydale deacon group 2019

The weekend was an opportunity to be inspired by stories of deacons making connections with communities of interest beyond the church, for example with bikers, market stall holders place and older people. For enquirers, incumbents and anyone interested to know more about the diaconate, the date for Wydale Weekend 2020 is February 28th-March 1st

Don’t miss the next day meeting of the York deacons group on November 16th at St. Edwards’s Dringhouses, with Bishop Alison.

Deacon Liz Carrington

 

MOTHERING SUNDAY: with resources

I love this poem by Malcolm Guite, which especially celebrates single mums and the amazing job so many of them do.  As always, you can hear Malcolm reading his poem if you click on the title.  I’ve also added some links to resources.

Image result for mothering sunday

Mothering Sunday 

At last, in spite of all, a recognition,

For those who loved and laboured for so long,

Who brought us, through that labour, to fruition

To flourish in the place where we belong.

A thanks to those who stayed and did the raising,

Who buckled down and did the work of two,

Whom governments have mocked instead of praising,

Who hid their heart-break and still struggled through,

The single mothers forced onto the edge

Whose work the world has overlooked, neglected,

Invisible to wealth and privilege,

But in whose lives the kingdom is reflected.

Now into Christ our mother church we bring them,

Who shares with them the birth-pangs of His Kingdom.

(Malcolm Guite)

 

RESOURCES FOR MOTHERING SUNDAY

https://www.mothersunion.org/mothering-sunday-resources

http://www.going4growth.com/growth_through_the_year/mothering_sunday

https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/your-church/pray-worship-reflect/worship/mothering-sunday

https://www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk/find/all/ideas/1/mothering+sunday/

http://www.allageworshipresources.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SAAW002-Mothering-Sunday-Honour-your-parents.pdf

And a Godly Play approach:  https://deaconstories.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/the-prodigal-daughter.docx

THE DIACONATE, SCOTTISH STYLE

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

The Diaconate

A deacon is someone who has pledged themselves to the service of Jesus Christ and His Church, and has been selected, trained and ordained according to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of Scotland.

The office of deacon is recognised by the Church to be a distinctive, life-long office within the ministry of the Church, and to be agreeable to the Word of God.

What is the role of a Deacon?

Deacons have been ministering within the Church of Scotland for more than 120 years. At present there are 58 deacons in active service, the majority of whom work in parishes.

Deacons tend to serve in areas of great need and scarce resources. They discern the gifts and the needs of the community; work with individuals and groups at grassroots level, nurture relationships, offer pastoral support, training and education; build bridges between church and world; and contextualise the gospel in our daily lives.

In your ministry as a deacon … be ready to be a pioneer, revealing needs not fully acknowledged, bringing to light injustices easy to overlook, pointing to tasks most avoid. May your work encourage and enable the church to discover new patterns of service, and challenge it to raise a prophetic voice against those things that destroy community and deaden the spirit. Build bridges between church and world, that gifts may be shared to the benefit of each, and that people in all situations may know that the Gospel speaks to them.

Church of Scotland’s Ordinal and Service Book

https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/serve/ministries_council/partnership_development/the_diaconate

Good to bone up before the DIAKONIA conference in June! If you fancy meeting up with deacons from all over the world, and listening to John Bell, then this is the conference for you:  http://drae.diakonia-world.org/en/main/AssemblyPages/Assembly2019.shtml