DEACON ENVOY TO BUSINESS

Exciting news from Deacon James Holden, who has just become the Bishop of Coventry’s Envoy to Business.

On 18 October he is launching the pilot of the Bishop’s Missional Business Community.

Bishop Christopher says:  “It doesn’t matter what kind of Christian church you attend; BMBC’s are an outworking of our belief in the need for all Christians to use their gifts and position in society to help build the kingdom of God. We’re not setting out to create new forms of Church communities through them but simply to help business leaders from any Church to support, encourage and equip each other to serve Christ in the world.”

More details here and here

and pray for James as he heads up this groundbreaking initiative.  Deacons as envoys and pioneers – bring it on!

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FOLLOW

By loving us first, God makes it possible for us to love others, and Jesus asks only that we share that love. But in so doing he tells us that we must take up our cross and follow him. Our hands must reach out, pick up the rough wood, and carry it — for ourselves and for others.

-Br. Robert L’Esperance
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

On this day’s International Day of Peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

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ORDINATION JOY

The Diocese of Exeter celebrates new deacons, ordained by the Rt Rev Robert Atwell

10 September 2017 in Exeter Cathedral.

One of them, Andy Farmer, was ordained into the distinctive diaconate.

The Ordination Eucharist was deaconed by two distinctive deacons, Bev Cree and David Watson.

A gently liturgical Hurray is in order!Ordination joy

WHY HAVE A DEACON?

Sometimes incumbents ask ‘why would I need a deacon?’  I took this challenge to a group of deacons and this is what they said:

WHY HAVE A DEACON?

Because …

  • Deacons are Jesus to the world and the church (Ignatius)
  • Deacons bring the world into worship, and worship into the world
  • Deacons are ambassadors for Christ’s servant ministry
  • Deacons have a focus which is outwards from the church, encouraging the whole church to be Christ’s servant in the world
  • Deacons are bridge builders between church and community
  • Deacons are the conscience of the church
  • Deacons are risk-takers and lost sheep-finders
  • ‘when the church takes its eyes off the diaconal calling, it normally ends up dividing to create a church that brings it back’
  • Deacons are the heart, feet, hands of the church in the community
  • Deacons are a visible reminder to the church of its own servant ministry
  • Deacons welcome people across the threshold of the church … and send them back out into the world refreshed and empowered
  • Deacons bring people to baptism and confirmation
  • Deacons equip the saints to be heralds of the gospel
  • Deacons are interpreters of the world to and for the church
  • Deacons are prophets, speaking truth to power
  • Deacons are called to model servant leadership
  • Deacons’ sacramental participation in the Eucharist flows out to the world in servant-hearted  mission

What would you add?

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DEACONS AS COMMUNITY COACHES

No, not the wheeled variety!  In this interesting comment on the north-south divide and the failure of the C of E to take informed responsibility in poor areas, community theologian Ann Morisy says ‘the Church of Scotland, besides investing in coaching, provides additional full-time staff for each and every priority (poor) parish. The people appointed, however, are not clergy, but youth workers, community animators, administrators, artists, and poets, as well as trained and experienced coaches.’

This concept, of people who are trained to coach others in dealing with their circumstances in order to make a difference, is surely a diaconal one. This is an opportunity for the diaconate to step in to community needs and show its true colours.

Ann’s article:  https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/8-september/comment/opinion/breaking-down-the-north-south-divide

DEACON ON THE WAY

Phil Wales (diocese of Exeter) rejoices in his calling to the diaconate and here tells his story:

Being and Becoming

I was overjoyed when I was told recently that I had been recommended for training as a deacon. There are, currently, only between 100-150 distinctive (lifelong) deacons nationally. So, naturally enough, my vocational journey has led to a number of interesting conversations about the place of deacons in the Church of England today.

Deacons are ordained ministers; heralds of God’s kingdom. They are often described as carrying out a form of ‘bridge ministry’; inhabiting a space on the threshold of the church and the wider world. But as there are so few lifelong deacons, it may sometimes be difficult to see the distinctive nature of their ministry. In church, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, assist at the Eucharist, and ‘send out’ the congregation as the final act of collective worship (usually with the words ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’).

Outside the church building, in addition to proclaiming the Good News among those with whom they live and work, deacons are called to acts of service. It’s therefore usually the case, that deacons will be in paid employment; often, though not exclusively, in caring or other ‘people-related’ occupations.

It’s sometimes said that the role of the deacon is limited, because it does not encompass sacramental ministry. Yet as we read in Acts 6, deacons are called not to offer a partial ministry, but one which is fully centred on God’s word and acts of service. As part of my preparation for my recent Bishops Advisory Panel (BAP), I read a wonderfully informative history of the diaconate in the Church of England. The book, *’Inferior Office?’ contains many fascinating insights but before I even turned the first page it was the author’s thoughtful use of the question mark in the title which held my attention. That question mark invites us to re-examine our preconceptions. It helps us strip away some of our assumptions and, possibly, misunderstandings, and so to see things afresh.

The diaconate is an ancient order in Christ’s church in its own right, distinctive from, and yet complementary to, the other orders of priest and bishop. I start 2 years of part-time training with the South West Ministry Training Course in early September. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, advice and questions during recent months. I have been deeply touched by all the support and affection I have received.

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Phil Wales
Phil is a regular member of the Cathedral’s weekday congregation, and attends many Cathedral courses and events, in addition to worshipping at St Margaret’s Topsham on Sundays.

More details of Francis Young’s book ‘Inferior Office?’ here https://deaconstories.wordpress.com/some-useful-books-and-papers/

 

WOMEN IN THE CATHOLIC DIACONATE?

Father Roy Donovan, Association of Catholic Priests,  is calling on the Irish bishops to halt the introduction of the permanent diaconate in Ireland until women can be included.  An interesting intervention!  It’s not often one finds such publicly passionate advocacy of women’s ministry in the Roman Catholic church.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/world/irish-priests-call-diaconate-pause