LITURGICAL RESOURCES FOR DEACONS

There are liturgical resources for deacons here on the Association for Episcopal Deacons website.  They include a template for Celebration of a Deacon’s New Ministry, Diocese of Olympia, which might be useful to plunder when thinking about a liturgy for your own ministry.

Association for Episcopal Deacons

(There’s also a template for a liturgy for the end of a deacon’s ministry, which is  a very strange concept!)

Deacon Michael Jackson, the longest-serving deacon and editor of the new book on the diaconate, also has some ‘Notes for Intercessors’, as organising intercessions can be part of the deacon’s task.  They are not primarily ‘diaconal’ as such, but they are a very useful template especially if you’ve got somebody new doing intercessions who needs a bit of guidance and encouragement.   Notes for Intercessors, from Michael Jackson, Diocese of Qu’Appelle in Canada

Take a look:  https://www.episcopaldeacons.org/liturgical-resources-for-deacons.html

 

 

 

DISTINCTIVE DEACONS: diocese of Melbourne

Clear and focused info on distinctive deacons on the website of the diocese of Melbourne.  Nice – we could take a leaf out of their book!

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​Click the image to download a brochure on the Diaconate in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne

A distinctive ministry

The renewal of the diaconate on a more permanent basis has seen a careful examination of what is distinctive in all ordained ministries within the context of a ministry belonging to all baptised believers.

The Diaconate is part of the threefold order of ordained ministry and deacons are authorised by the bishop to assist the bishop to focus the church and the world alike on issues of justice, mercy and compassion.

Deacons take part in the liturgy of the church as well as serving in ministries at the intersection of church and world. Deacons ordained in the Diocese of Melbourne may be found in many areas of ministry including the following:

Chaplain

Some deacons have roles in aspects of chaplaincy, sharing in the pastoral ministry of the church to bring compassionate concern and practical help to people and communities, in schools, nursing homes, aged care facilities, hospitals or prisons. They may be licensed to these ministries or be based in a home Church where they equip others for ministry at the margins of society, away from the gathered church. They care for the young, poor, the sick, the lonely, the outcast, and the marginalised and bring their concerns to the attention of the church.

Deacon in the Parish

Deacons are licensed to a local parish as part of their ministry responsibility, assisting and sharing in the leading of God’s people in worship and representing the church scattered, bringing the hurts of the world to the attention of the church. They may also have a specific ministry to special groups within the parish.

Deacon in Mission

There are Deacons who work in mission outside Australia in areas of education and compassionate concern.

Diocesan Deacon

Several of the deacons operate at the diocesan level employed by Diocesan agencies.

The church needs deacons in ministry leadership, in education, in parish ministry and growth and in prophetic and advocacy work. If you feel called to this ministry you may contact the Director of Theological Education for more information.

 

http://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/mission/deacons/Pages/Deacons.aspx

DEACONS AT END OF CURACY: a locally-supported post?

For many deacons, coming to the end of curacy is not an issue.  Most are Self-Supporting Ministers (SSMs), living in their own houses, and expecting to continue to minister in their own communities.

However, this is not the case for everyone.  Suppose a deacon wants to move at the end of a curacy?  Suppose they are one of those very rare animals, a stipendiary deacon?  What happens when you complete IME 2 and your paid curacy comes to an end?

 

Some deacons find that their diocesan staff are well on top of this and that there are helpful protocols in place.  However, there are others for whom this is not true.  One person came to the end of her self-supporting curacy, phoned her Archdeacon, and was told that he had no idea what she should do next.  He hadn’t given it any thought.  Another was simply told by her diocese that there were no  stipendiary posts for deacons, and they took no further responsibility.  A third diocese had created a stipendiary post specially for their deacon, then decided against renewing the contract, and hadn’t a clue what to do instead.  These stories can be duplicated many times over.  The unspoken message seems to be that deacons are expendable. I consider this situation a disgrace, and something that bishops and bishops’ staff should address seriously.  Please start a serious and purposeful conversation with them, and don’t be dismayed.  God has a purpose for you and it is right that you and they should discover together what that is.

Here is some practical information.

  1. Deacons are normally treated in exactly the same way as any other SSM coming to the end of their curacy, ie, they have an end of year interview with the Bishop in which they discuss whether it is right to stay in the same post, or to move to a different post.
  2. All training incumbents should arrange a service to mark the end of the curate’s curacy – or at least to have an element of that in an existing service. Once the new post has been settled, either staying put or moving elsewhere, there will be a licensing service for the Deacon.

However, of course deacons are not the same as priest SSMs.  There is usually a plethora of jobs open to priests, but very few for deacons.  What happens then?

Be prepared to think creatively.  If another stipendiary parish job is not available, what else could you do?  It is worth starting to plan this early in the curacy.  Get in touch with your Area Dean or Archdeacon and start the conversation.

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  1. What else do you have an interest in?  Deacons are usually  involved in different types of social care and marginal ministry, and sometimes a paid secular job comes up in those contexts that would suit you.  I’ve recently come across the term ‘bi-vocational’ – maybe this is a useful way to think about our ministry at the present time.
  2. Paid chaplaincy (e.g. in a hospital) may be an option for some; that almost always involves employment in an institution rather than office-holding in a diocese.  Or is your interest in education or a charity?  Be open-minded and prepared to explore. 
  3. A tip from Canon Deacon Ann Turner:  “It is worth mentioning at annual reviews the area of ministry that appeals to you. (I once mentioned mentoring and/or vocations and within a short time found myself as an ADDO and then DDO. The best job in the CofE!)”
  4. If you want to stay in your present parish, talk things through with your incumbent.  You need to keep a connection with a church community, in order to maintain a sense of ministerial identity, and to encourage that church to think diaconally about the needs of the community.
  5. If you don’t want to stay with the same incumbent, then that needs to be part of your end-of-curacy conversation with your bishop.  You may have your eye on another parish where you would like to serve:  talk it through with him/her.
  6. In theory, a diocesan part-stipendiary or house-for-duty appointment as associate minister would be open to a deacon, but in practice that would depend on whether presiding at Holy Communion on Sundays is an essential part of the role description as it usually is. One practical suggestion in some cases might be for a PCC to fund a ‘Locally Supported Post’ for a deacon, just as some already choose to fund posts for locally employed lay ministers (e.g. youth or families workers). There are special procedures for the establishment of such a post in a parish, but it is legally possible to do so.

In other words, we deacons have to stop depending on our dioceses to do all the thinking for us.  We need to put forward clear ideas, suggestions and alternatives.  It helps if we see this as an opportunity to do what deacons do best:  developing new ways of thinking!

 

With thanks for their input to Canon Becky Totterdell, DDO for Exeter diocese: The Ven Douglas Dettmer, Archdeacon of Totnes: and Rev Deacon Corinne Smith, deanery deacon, Isle of Wight, diocese of Portsmouth.

(images from Teach Talks, Tiny Runner and Udemy blog)

LAURENCE, DEACON AND MARTYR

Today 10 August the church celebrates the martyr, Deacon Laurence.  In our intercessions,  Christians like him are to be remembered,  still being captured, unjustly tried, robbed of possessions, and made to suffer ghastly deaths.

Lord, have mercy:  and grant us the grace, courage and humour of Laurence.

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Laurence or Lawrence (about 225-258) was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome who were martyred under the persecution of Valerian (emperor 253-260) in 258.  After Sixtus was elected bishop on 31 August 257, he ordained Laurence a deacon and placed him in charge of the administration of church goods and care for the poor.

In the persecutions under Valerian, numerous presbyters and bishops were put to death.. Sixtus II was one of the first victims, beheaded on 6 August 258. According to a legend cited by Ambrose of Milan, Laurence met Sixtus on his way to execution, and said: “Father, where are you going without your son? Holy priest, where are you hurrying without your deacon?”

Sixtus answered: “I am not leaving you or forsaking you. Greater struggles yet await you. We old men have to undergo an easier fight; a more glorious triumph over the Tyrant awaits you, young man. Don’t cry; after three days you will follow me.”

After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Laurence turn over the riches of the church. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that Laurence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. Laurence worked swiftly to distribute as much church property to the poor as possible, to prevent its being seized by the prefect.

On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect. When ordered to give up the treasures of the church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the suffering, and said that these were the true treasures of the church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, “The church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor.” This act of defiance led to his martyrdom. It is said that Laurence was burned on a gridiron or “grilled” to death. According to legend, at the point of death he exclaimed, “I am done on this side! Turn me over and eat.” (More likely, he was beheaded like his bishop and fellow deacons.)

(From Deacon Ormonde Plater’s Calendar of Deacon Saints)

CREATING A NATIONAL NETWORK OF DEACONS: FIRST STEPS

Enormously encouraging news for us. I had a meeting with +James Newcome, bishop of Carlisle, last week, who is the deacons’ champion.

He agrees that it would be an excellent idea to start moving towards some kind of national network which will not be over-formal, but which would be recognised by national bodies such as Ministry Division and the House of Bishops. He wants us to call it ‘Anglican Network of Distinctive Deacons‘ and says that we need a cross or a badge, and favours the one worn by Catholic deacons as being clear about our identity. We will need a patron and of course I asked if he would consider it, and he said he would be delighted.

The next step is that he will set up a meeting with the new Director of Ministry Division, Chris Goldsmith, and has asked me to be there. I am also to write to +Martin Seeley, head of the Ministry Council.

Please keep all this very much in your prayers. It is by no means a foregone conclusion, and there will be hurdles along the way. May they be flattened by the steamroller of diaconal prayer!! 🙏 And may God grant us all wisdom and lead us according to his holy will.

If you would like a deacon’s lapel pin, (size is just under one inch, in white and red enamel)

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then Deacon David Bean (Southwell) has offered to buy them in bulk from the Buckfast Abbey bookshop (which, as far as I can discover, is the only source in the UK) and will mail one to you if you wish.  Please let me know if you would like one:  send me your name and address privately by Direct Message on the deacons’ Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/DistinctivelyDeacon/

or, if you’re a member of the GoDeacons Whatsapp group, you can give me those details securely on that.

Please also let me know if you would like me to file your details for future reference, or if you would prefer to have them erased.

David’s asked for orders to be made by Sunday 11 August.

So much to be thankful for:  so much to pray for!

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SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MERCY AND JUSTICE ISSUES

Deacons walk together at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada. Submitted photo
Deacons walk together at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada. Submitted photo

The diaconate of the Anglican churches is an historic order, with roots in the ancient church, adapting to the needs of the church and the world in our own age. Like the other two orders, the episcopate and the presbyterate, it is a gift from God for the nurture of God’s people and the proclamation of God’s gospel. It is closely linked with the ordained diaconate of other ecumenical bodies, especially the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and some Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Deacons are symbols of Christ and his church,
filled with grace and power through ordination.

Deacons function in ministries of liturgy, word, and charity. They serve directly under the bishop of a diocese and help to carry out the bishop’s ministry. Bishops normally assign deacons to special responsibility for mercy and justice. Dioceses usually require that prospective deacons already serve in specialized ministries among the poor, sick, and oppressed. Once ordained, deacons exercise leadership among the faithful, encouraging, training, and organizing them for various ministries. In many ways the vision of the historic diaconate has become a reality in our time.

“Deacons are agents of the church in word, action, and attendance,
who lead the people of God in carrying the light of Christ into places of darkness.”

North American Association for the Diaconate

Resources

  • iona-reportIona Report – Discrepancy in the practice and understanding of the diaconate among dioceses led the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee to form the Task Force on the Diaconate in 2014.  After a close study of existing resources, the task force released The Iona Report, which identifies knowledge and skill areas that can be adapted to local conditions while providing consistent guidelines in how deacons are selected, used, and understood across the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • To Love and Serve the Lord – The Jerusalem Report of the Anglican–Lutheran International Commission (ALIC III)

 

https://www.anglican.ca/faith/ministry/om/diaconate/

DEACONS’ OUTREACH IN CAFES: “HAPPY TO CHAT”

The GoDeacons Whatsapp group is a lively, buzzy group full of ideas, support and prayer.  This last week deacons have been sharing info about this initiative, whereby some cafes put mats or notes on some of their tables saying ‘happy to chat’ or something similar.

This means that if anyone coming into the cafe is feeling a bit lonely or wanting just to chat, then they are free to talk to anyone who is sitting at a table with such a mat or notice.  A fabulous outreaching idea for a chatty deacon!

Deacon Paul Hollingworth (Winchester and a very chatty deacon!) said:

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 Hi the above Happy to Share is an initiative I’m also putting into my local cafes. The cards are free and the guide gives an explanation. Thought you might want to know as can be a good way to build community.

 

He adds

I’m not just putting them in cafes I’m also going to give them to parishioners and clergy team to carry with them and use them when they are out and about. I also have come across a place mat that on one side says Say Hello and have a chat and the other side Not Today maybe another time. They are Coffee Companion place mats.

https://coffeecompanions.co.uk/

Deacon Bev Cree (Exeter) responded

This is a very good idea, especially in areas with an ageing population in their community or even those with other health issues which make conversation difficult and need a way to open the conversation. Brilliant

and Deacon Alison Handcock (Bath and Wells) added

Only talking about these with my husband yesterday as we walked the south west coast path. We saw a sign on a ‘chatting bench’ in Beer which read ‘if you sit on this bench be prepared that someone might come and chat to you.’

Deacon Dave Hobman (York) is already on it:

Just ordered cards for use in York city centre coffee shops and drop in centres. Great idea for street ministry.

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So we get to have coffee AND chat to anyone who comes to our table.  It’s a hard life …

DEACONS MAKE HISTORY IN THE DIOCESE IN EUROPE

A wonderful article by Bishop David Hamid of the Diocese in Europe, on the value of the diaconate!  Three cheers!

Deacons make history in the Diocese in Europe

The ministry of deacon in the Church of England is still not well known nor understood.. Most people assume that being a deacon is simply a stepping stone on the way to the priesthood. It is true that priests must first be ordained deacon but the diaconate is also a distinctive ministry, to which people are called, and part of the three-fold ministry of bishop, priest and deacon that Anglicans teach as being characteristic of minstry in the Holy Catholic Church.

The Lambeth Conference as early as 1958 made an attempt to renew the understanding of the diaconate as a distinctive ministry and recommended that “each province of the Anglican Communion…consider whether the office of Deacon shall be restored to its primitive place as a distinctive order in the Church, instead of being regarded as a probationary period for the priesthood”. The distinctive diaconate, in my view, still needs to be taken more seriously as a vocational opportunity, within the Church of England.

Deacon Giampaolo Pancetti (Florence)

In this Diocese in Europe we are blessed with having at present 4 distinctive deacons in various ministries (and two such deacons retired from active ministry).

Some ask what is the difference between a deacon and a (lay) Reader. Indeed deacons and Readers in the Church of England do many similar tasks – preaching, teaching and praying for instance. But a deacon is somethingnot simply someone who does certain things. Deacons are ordained to hold up before the Church and the world, diakonia, the distinctive ministry of Christ the Servant, as being central to all Christian ministry.

Some ask how a deacon is different from a priest; is a deacon not simply a junior priest? Well, no. A priest’s focus is on the parish community and sacrament. They are pastors/shepherds of the community, feeding them and leading them. The deacon’s focus is on outreach, service, and supporting the ministry of the faithful in the world.

Being an icon of Christ’s servant ministry does not mean that a deacon is simply a servant, mind you. A 2001 Church of England report on the ministry of deacons, For Such A Time As This, emphasised that the deacon is a person on a mission, an ambassador or messenger, making connections, building bridges, faithfully delivering a mandate”.

I believe that it is the ambassadorial role which marks out the ministry of the deacon most clearly. And as an ambassador is sent as an envoy, so a deacon is an envoy between the Church and the world. This is manifest in the traditional role of the deacon in the liturgy (although the deacon’s ministry is far from confined to the liturgy!). So the deacon travels from the sanctuary into the midst of the people to proclaim the Good News, and at the end of the mass sends the people out into the world to spread Christ’s peace. The deacon as envoy also brings the the needs of the world into the assembled Church in the intercessions, and in the offertory presents the gifts of ordinary human life and labour, bread and wine, on the altar to be transformed in the Eucharistic prayer led by the priest.

Last 30 June was a historic occasion for this diocese. For the first time, in the same place, were to be found three distinctive deacons. Deacon Julia Bradshaw (above centre) was ordained to this order to serve in St Thomas’ Church in Crete, in the Greater Athens Chaplaincy. The preacher for the ordination was Deacon Christine Saccali (above left), who is also licenced to Greater Athens. The Deacon of the mass was Frances Hiller.

If you would like to explore a possible vocation to the diaconate, have a conversation with your priest.

CAN DEACONS TAKE THE SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION BY EXTENSION?

The answer is ‘YES – BUT’ … it is hedged around with some important restrictions, the main one being that HCbE should only take place with the express approval of the bishop and even then, only for a limited time.

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This is from the Guidelines issued by the House of Bishops (I have highlighted some of the points):

The practice of Communion by Extension as envisaged by the authorized service has some affinities with the communion of the sick, from elements which have been consecrated at a celebration in church. The main differences concern the public nature of Communion by Extension, and the consequent need for careful attention to the overall shape and content of the service. For this reason it is required that the service should be led only by a person who has been specifically authorized for this purpose by the bishop. Such a person will normally be a deacon, Reader or lay worker licensed under Canon E 7, and must wear the appropriate vesture.

Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6:

The service of Communion by Extension has been drawn up to make clear that it is not in itself a celebration of Holy Communion, and yet enables a worshipping community to participate in Holy Communion ‘by extension’. When it is introduced to a congregation care should be taken to explain the close relationship between the two services; there is but one celebration of Holy Communion, from which the consecrated elements are brought.

5 The notes which accompany the service make clear that explicit permission must be obtained from the bishop for the use of this rite, and that such permission should relate to specific pastoral circumstances. Such permission will normally be in writing, and will be either for a particular occasion or for a limited duration. The bishop should regularly review the use of this rite in parishes where it is used. Communion by Extension must always be regarded as exceptional and provisional, looking to circumstances when a priest will be available to preside at a celebration of Holy Communion.

6  Communion by Extension will require that special care is given to the conduct of the service, and especially that the consecrated elements are treated in a seemly and dignified manner. Those responsible for a service should ensure that the consecrated elements are adequate to meet the needs of the congregation, and that any consecrated bread and wine which is not required for the purposes of communion is consumed either during or immediately after the service.

Whole document here https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/extended%20communion%20guidelines-oct%202000_1.pdf

See also https://www.churchofengland.org/more/policy-and-thinking/canons-church-england/supplementary-material

Here is a downloadable version of the order of service for Public Worship with Communion by Extension https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Public%20Worship%20with%20Communion%20by%20Extension.pdf

You can also of course get this ordered from Church House Publishing.

If in any doubt, refer to your bishop, archdeacon or rural/area dean.  The one thing that is abundantly clear is that we are not free simply to make use of this service at any time, but must have permission.

A local example of a time and place when HCbE was used:  http://www.saintandrewsshottery.org/services/holy-communion-by-extension.php

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