From early 2017 to mid 2018, the diaconate steering group for Deacon Jessica Foster (comprising Paula Gooder [chair]; Martin Stephenson; Richard Sudworth and Jessica Foster*] met together to reflect on Jessica’s vocation as a deacon. Inevitably the group wanted to do this particular reflection in the light and context of a wider reflection on the nature of the diaconate both historically and in the Church of England today.
This document represents the work of this group. It begins with a reflection by Jessica on her vocation as a deacon and how this has developed during her time as a curate. The second (much longer) section consists of the documents written to stimulate the group’s thinking around the diaconate past and present. The final section sketches out a vision for the future and how diaconal ministry might be supported more widely across the diocese.
We hope that it will stimulate conversation and reflection on the role of the permanent diaconate in CofE Birmingham, as the diocese seeks new patterns of ministry in the months and years ahead.
*Dr Paula Gooder, theologian, Lay Reader and New Testament specialist
Rev Deacon Jessica Foster, curate, St Peter’s Church, Hall Green, Birmingham
Rev Canon Martin Stephenson, vicar of St Peter’s Church, Hall Green and Jess’s training incumbent
Rev Dr Richard Sudworth, honorary Research Fellow on Christian-Muslim relations at Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham and vicar of Sparkbrook.
A reflection on experience, explorations of the diaconate past and present, and a vision for the future
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(image from Possibility Coaches)