You called me and I came to Colmcille
To learn at last the meaning of my name
Though you yourself were called, and not the caller,
He called through you and when He called I came.
Came to the edge at last, in Donegal,
Where bonfires burned and music lit the flame
As from the shore I glimpsed that ragged sail
The Spirit filled to drive you from your home,
A fierce dove racing in a fiercer gale,
A swift wing flashing between sea and sky.
And with that glimpse I knew that I would fly
And find you out and serve you for a season,
My heaven hidden like your native isle,
Though somehow glimmering on each horizon.
Find out more about why Columba means so much to priest-poet Malcolm Guite
For me, Reader ministry was about bringing insights and perspectives from everyday life as a lay person into the liturgical and preaching life of the church for all ages.
Now I’m a Deacon I get the opportunity to:
- represent the Church visibly and sacramentally in the marketplace and to bridge the gap between church and world
- baptise when requests for baptism arise out of my relationships in the community
- model to the church and world the ministry of Jesus by engaging with those ‘on the edge’, and speaking up for those without a voice
- empower and equip the church to make Jesus known through their own discipleship and desire to serve.
Deacons I hope can be instrumental in articulating and modelling a more kingdom-focussed, all inclusive, servant-hearted structure in the Church and thus more able to ‘Set God’s People Free’ – both clergy and laity.
I love the idea of David moving from presbyter to deacon . . . I think it speaks much about the humility and equality Jesus (and the Benedictines) modelled.
Alison Handcock, Bath and Wells diocese
Methodist deacon David Clark tells us
I became a deacon at 71 – moving into the Methodist Diaconal Order after many years as a Methodist presbyter – because for many years my work had been on the boundary of church and society, in my case in education. [I wonder what that says about the theology of a transitional diaconate?] I am all for our ministries reflecting where life has taken us – being a Christian is an exciting and on-going journey of discovery.
It would, of course, never happen in the Church of England. Once a priest, always a priest, and most priests would regard becoming a deacon again as a ‘retrograde’ step. We are a very long way from equality of ministries.
Another good reason for unity with the Methodists, perhaps!
Archbishop John has created some controversy with his decision to invite Readers to consider whether their ministry is really diaconal.
One of the first Readers to benefit from his decision is Pat (Patricia) Wood. Here she shares her journey with us, from Reader to Deacon. She makes the distinction between them very clear!
The Revd. Patricia Wood (known as Pat)
Ordained Deacon 11th April 2018.
Although I had always believed – Sunday School, Brownies etc. – I didn’t really ‘come to faith’ until I was 40, and struggling with an extremely difficult situation in my life. My promise to God to worship Him if He would look after me was accepted by both parties and I was confirmed in 1981- a wonderful moment in my life, when I received my first Communion, with my father at one side of me and my very best friend at the other side.
Spiritual progress was slow (on my side); I moved from Sheffield to just outside Scarborough to work as a carer in 1992 and married the love of my childhood seven years later. Eventually I offered myself to read in church and with the help of Revd Adam Reid found the voice to lead the intercessions.
Thirst for knowledge about the Bible and my faith, with the help of Revd. Ann Coleman, at the time Priest Director of Wydale, led me onto the Lay Readership Course, where I decided that perhaps I should share what I was learning. I was licensed in 2011 and was awarded my Foundation Degree the following year. The learning habit by this time had hooked me and I was awarded a BA in 2014 and have since moved onto MA studies – still in Theology and Ministry.
The possibility of ordination seemed to have passed me by after a stretch in hospital and I concentrated my efforts on what turned out to be (according to the Archbishop’s letter) a Diaconal Ministry – school assemblies, messy church, food banks, shoebox appeal, fellowship groups etc. The upshot of course being, as I began this post, my ordination to the diaconate on 11th April 2018 – made even more exciting when my vicar went ‘off sick’ only days later. God really will need to provide!!!
Diocese of York