This is today’s posting on ‘From the Deacon’s Desk’, a blog by Deacon Rick Wagner.  Well worth following!

Passion Defined

January 16, 2018

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As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” (Mark 2:23-24)

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees are questioning the actions of Jesus and His disciples on the Sabbath.

Jesus tries to tell them, in both word and action, “You’re getting so caught up in words, rules, and laws that you are missing the truth.”

What He wants them to hear is, “I heal the sick. I restore sight to the blind. I teach about love. I teach about serving others. And here you are, telling us we are breaking the law of the Sabbath because we picked some grain to eat? You are missing the point entirely!”

Jesus was certainly passionate about His cause. He was willing to suffer and die in order for us to get the message.

I leave you with a few questions and a challenge:

What are you passionate about? What injustice do you see that needs to be addressed? Who is suffering and needs you to be their voice?

What are you doing about it? If you act, there is a chance you could make a positive impact. If you don’t act, there is no chance.

Image from Apologetics Press


DEACONS MATTER: exciting February conference

Deacons Matter
Deacons Matter

The talks will be about Deacons as Groundbreakers, Angels and Icons – there’s an inspiring line-up!  And Sunday morning will be given over to discussion on creating a support and development network for deacons.  It could be a game-changer!

More information:

Booking Form for Deacons Feb 2018-1

EPIPHANY: a poem by four wise men

This poem was written on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Bethlehem by His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, The  Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, The moderator of the Free Churches, David Coffey, and The Armenian patriarch of Great Britain, Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian in Advent 2006.

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Epiphany 2007

Four wise men came from the west

To Bethlehem, a city sadly torn apart;

With iron walls and troops oppressed.

They spoke of ‘wrongs within the human heart’

I thought epiphany would come earlier this year

But years ago when from the east

Three such men had crossed the sand

They laid their tributes at Christ’s feet

But now our troops invade their shattered land

I thought epiphany might never come this year

And what does now the future hold

For me, for him, my Abrahamic brother

What meant the incense, myrrh and gold?

Can we not change, and learn to love each other?

I hope epiphany will come at last this year



Today the church remembers and honours Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus, profoundly influential teachers of the church.

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Basil wrote:

“When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”

I’m certain his deacons ensured that the needy were cared for!


Resolutions are not often a good idea.  Easily made, and easily broken.  Even so, the new year is a helpful time to take stock of our lives and ministries.

As deacons, it is all too easy to get sucked in to other people’s ideas of what we should be  doing.  Now is a good moment to check that out, to see if we’ve lost a little bit of our diaconal focus.  Are we still able to spend most of our time outside the church, or on its fringes, meeting the needs of others?  If not, what needs to change?

Here, in no particular order, are some other starter ideas:

  • How does the servant leadership of Christ inspire and enable me?
  • How am I spiritually?  Am I giving enough time and attention to my relationship with God, so that, as I feed on him, I am in turn able to feed others with his love?  Do I need to make any changes?
  • Do I make time to be with other deacons, to learn and grow together in mutual support and prayer?
  • How am I dealing with the constraints on my time? Do I need to revisit any decisions?
  • Are there projects and ideas that are on the back burner?  Is 2018 the time when they need my attention and energy?
  • How relational am I in my thinking and practice?
  • What fresh ways are there to encourage my church to become more missional and outward-reaching?
  • Can I free up other clergy by shouldering some of their diaconal responsibilities?
  • What else can I do to encourage and support those who are on the fringes of the church?
  • How can I ‘deacon’ colleagues in the workplace?

A happy and blessed new year be yours!

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Image by Linda Richardson


We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,

Or cosy in a crib beside the font,

But he is with a million displaced people

On the long road of weariness and want.

For even as we sing our final carol

His family is up and on that road,

Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,

Glancing behind and shouldering their load.

Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower

Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,

The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,

And death squads spread their curse across the world.

But every Herod dies, and comes alone

To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.

Malcolm Guite


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And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven… Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his [Christ’s] name… Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven… Now, at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exults, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered a multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven. (St Fulgentius)

Gracious Father,

who gave the first martyr Stephen

grace to pray for those who took up stones against him:

grant that in all our sufferings for the truth

we may learn to love even our enemies

and to seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt,

looking up to heaven to him who was crucified for us,

Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

(Common Worship, Collect for Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr)


A blessed and joyful Christmas to you all!  May the peace and grace of this season accompany you into the new year.

A reminder that deacons all over the world will be celebrating the birth of our Lord.  We are part of a goodly company!

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Related imageEgyptian Coptic deacons


Image result for Romanian Orthodox deacons celebrate ChristmasRomanian Orthodox deacons

Image result for deacons CatholicAmerican Roman Catholic deacons


Image result for African deaconsDeacons in South Africa


Image result for Indian deaconsDeacons of the province of South India


Related imageDeacons of the diocese of Hong Kong


Image result for women deaconsThe first women deacons of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Andy Farmerimage6-1photo2IMG_6338

Andy, Corinne, Jess, Rita, Chris and Gerrie:  English deacons

image: Indian batik of the nativity Per Natale






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