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


  • 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)




As deacons we are pretty starved of resources about our vocation and ministry.  But there’s good news.  Last year there was an international ecumenical conference on the diaconate in Saskatchewan:  see report here.

As a follow-up, a book is coming out in August this year with all the talks, to be called ‘The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective’,  published by Sacristy Press.  The speakers were all very experienced leading Episcopal deacons or people who have been involved with diaconal formation for many years.   They  include our own Canon Rosalind Brown, and English Methodist deacon David Clark.

You can view all the conference talks here: 


(That should keep us quiet for a while!)

Read more details  in Deacon Michael Jackson’s latest letter:

Message to Conference Participants – March 2019-2



Exploration of diaconate in Anglican, Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic churches

Posted on: December 8, 2017 12:08 PM

Canon Michael Jackson
Photo Credit: Anglican Church of Canada

The role of deacons in the Church will be discussed by an international ecumenical gathering in Regina, Canada, next year, in a programme bringing together Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Ukrainian Catholics. The Revd Canon Michael Jackson, a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada, described the gathering as “an academic conference about the diaconate” and said: “We hope lots of deacons are going to come . . . but it’s a conference about the diaconate, and anyone who’s interested in the diaconate is welcome to attend.”

The Anglican-Roman Catholic-Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate will take place from May 10 to 13 next year at Campion College in the University of Regina. It is being sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. Speakers and panellists from Canada, the US, England, and Scotland will address the liturgical role of deacons, women and the diaconate, the prophetic role of the deacon, and relationships between deacons and other ordained ministers.

Jackson has served as an Anglican deacon for four decades, and is the longest-serving deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. He is the Anglican co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Covenant Implementation Committee. He hopes that the conference would lead to a better awareness and understanding of the diaconate, which he described as a very “current topic” in light of the revival of the permanent diaconate in the Anglican and Catholic churches.

“The diaconate is still not fully understood in both our communions, and I hope we’re going to get a better theological basis for the diaconate, a better understanding of it, and what deacons can do and their potential in the church,” he said.

“There is still this underlying view among Anglicans or Roman Catholics [that] ‘Well, a deacon’s just a partway-there minister. Really, the full ministry is the priesthood.’ And we are arguing that no, the diaconate is . . . a full and equal order.

“There are three orders of ministry in our traditions . . . bishop, priest, and deacon. And we’re trying to re-establish the deacon as an order in its own right, with its own integrity in the church – whether it be in the structure of the church, in liturgy, in ministry.”

Recent Anglican discussion on the diaconate has centred around the 2016 Iona Report, which outlined a new list of competencies for deacons, the Anglican Church of Canada said, adding that “Roman Catholics are currently embroiled in a debate regarding the ordination of women as deacons, following the establishment by Pope Francis of a Vatican commission to study the issue.”

The lead Catholic organiser of the conference, Brett Salkeld, currently theologian for the Archdiocese of Regina, said that the conference also reflected the good working relationship between the Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses based in Regina.

The two churches have started a diaconate formation program together that is now in its fourth year, with its first cohort set to be ordained in June. “In a diocese where this will be our first cohort, a lot of people don’t really understand the role of the deacon,” he said. “So it’s really important for us to communicate that a deacon is its own specific ministry, and that it’s not like a miniature priesthood. It’s a different thing.”

“The idea for this conference was perfect. It’s a bunch of people who already know each other and who like working together . . . able to work on something that both of our dioceses are pursuing right now.”

Conference fees are $250 CAD (approximately £145 GBP), excluding accommodation. Registration is open until 29 April 2018.