MINISTRY EXPERIENCE SCHEME: potential for diaconal vocations

Another opportunity for #distinctivedeacons to raise the profile of the diaconate in your diocese!  Is your diocese taking part in the Ministry Experience Scheme?

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A scheme offering young people experience of ministry in Church of England parishes is attracting an increasing number of participants, according to new figures released today.

The Ministry Experience Scheme, which offers year-long placements in churches across the country for young adults aged between 18 and 30 years old, is on course to have attracted 150 participants this year, compared to 47 in 2015. More than two thirds of dioceses in the Church of England are now taking part in the scheme.

Young adults on the scheme are encouraged to explore their vocation – not just to ordained ministry – living and working in communities in both urban and rural areas.

There is really good potential here for deacons to get on board with this scheme, and offer to host/mentor a young person who wants to get involved with community ministry.  If they find it inspiring, we may just see the beginning of a diaconal vocation.

Personally I’m convinced that if more young people knew about the distinctive diaconate, they would respond strongly to its emphasis on helping the poor and needy, and identifying and meeting needs in the community.  It would appeal to the sense of justice and of wanting to do something practical for God which we so often see in young people.

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Why not make enquiries of your Director for Mission and Ministry?  And work out what you could offer, to take part in such a scheme.

All the details here:




Kingsley Garth Bolton and Patricia Wood, Readers in the Diocese of York, were ordained (Distinctive) Deacon  at St Matthew’s Church, Hutton Buscel, on Wednesday 11th April 2018 by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. They are the first two people to have responded to the Archbishop’s invitation to consider whether their ministry is diaconal and to have undergone the necessary discernment process. In his address,the Archbishop said they were making history. His vision is to see a deacon in every church.

Deacon Liz Carrington said “It is good to know that anyone who feels called to a lifelong committment to the diaconate in this diocese can be assured that their voice will be heard and their call carefully considered. The ministry of deacons is valued as a significant contribution to the mission of the church, exemplifying the practical servanthood of Christ and enabling others.”

With many thanks to Liz for this groundbreaking news, and to Martin Shepphard.  The photographs may be used without further permission but should be attributed to Martin Shepphard. (He is the Communications Officer in the York diocese.)


It goes without saying that we should all be constantly on the lookout for those people whom God is calling into some kind of ministry.  Tomorrow is Vocations Sunday (I hope lots of deacons are able to preach tomorrow!) and launches the Great Vocations Conversation by the CofE.

And of course, it’s a great opportunity for us deacons to be even more alert to potential deacons in our congregations, and to start that conversation with them.  We never know if it’s going to be life-changing.

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More info here: 


Towards a Reasoned and Respectful Conversation About Deaconesses

by the St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess Board: AnnMarie Mecera, President; Caren Stayer, Ph.D.; Gust Mecera; Teva Regule, Ph.D.; Carrie Frederick Frost, Ph.D.; Helen Theodoropoulos, Ph.D.

St. Olympia the Deaconess

The St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess advocates for the reinstitution of the ordained order of deaconesses for the benefit of the Orthodox Church today. We also appreciate that this is a significant issue that prompts a range of opinions, and we consider it to be part of our work to promote empirically grounded conversation.[1]

Unfortunately, distortions and misrepresentations of the historical record, as well as fallacies about the interest in renewing the female diaconate, have been propagated by some of those opposed to deaconesses. Furthermore, when making their case, some detractors misunderstand and misrepresent the ecclesiology, history, and theology of the Church.

Correction of these errors is necessary for honest dialogue. By no means exhaustive, this article by the St. Phoebe Center Board provides solid historical and theological information about the diaconate by theme. We undertake this project with humility, knowing that while we offer up our own efforts, the Holy Spirit is also at work.

Please find the rest of this interesting article here

And let’s keep praying for our Orthodox brothers and sisters!


There’s a very wide range of jobs here.  I haven’t checked every detail, but they look as though they are open to deacons.–in-East-Midlands-jn5951–in-West-Midlands-jn6005

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DEACONS AT THE 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?

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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.

So 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:  develop 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)



“The church does not simply have deacons, but is, by its very nature and calling a diaconate. The call of deacons is to motivate and mobilize the congregation for works of service (diakonia).” From: Diakonia Remixed – Task Force report to Synod 2013

How can we encourage this outlook in our own congregations?





Part-time Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser (14 hrs/week) to the University of West London.

I’ve taken a look at this, and it doesn’t appear to specify a ‘priest’ – so presumably, deacons with the right experience can apply!

Full details here: