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)
Jobs for deacons in the C of E are so few and far between they are like hen’s teeth.
However, there are two part-time vacancies in the Diocese of Exeter available now, which would welcome a deacon. They are for Mission and Ministry Development Advisors:
The Revd Jon Marlow, Mission and Ministry Development Team Leader, writes:
If you do come across colleagues who might be interested in applying then please do encourage them to have a chat with me. We’re looking for a range of people across the four archdeaconries, so it would be great to have a deacon in the mix.
He also thanks me for my ‘really useful’ course ‘Preparing for Mission’, created with deacons in mind and on this blog: https://deaconstories.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/4-session-course-for-parishes-preparing-for-mission2.pdf
It would be wonderful to see a deacon in this sort of post. Might that be you?
(image from Malaphors)
I love this poem by Malcolm Guite, which especially celebrates single mums and the amazing job so many of them do. As always, you can hear Malcolm reading his poem if you click on the title. I’ve also added some links to resources.
At last, in spite of all, a recognition,
For those who loved and laboured for so long,
Who brought us, through that labour, to fruition
To flourish in the place where we belong.
A thanks to those who stayed and did the raising,
Who buckled down and did the work of two,
Whom governments have mocked instead of praising,
Who hid their heart-break and still struggled through,
The single mothers forced onto the edge
Whose work the world has overlooked, neglected,
Invisible to wealth and privilege,
But in whose lives the kingdom is reflected.
Now into Christ our mother church we bring them,
Who shares with them the birth-pangs of His Kingdom.
RESOURCES FOR MOTHERING SUNDAY
Mother’s Union resources: http://www.mothersunion.org/MotheringSunday
CofE Going for Growth: http://www.going4growth.com/growth_through_the_year/mothering_sunday
The Children’s Society: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/your-church/pray-worship-reflect/worship/mothering-sunday
Barnabas in Churches: http://www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk/find/all/ideas/1/mothering+sunday/
All Age Worship Resources: http://www.allageworshipresources.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SAAW002-Mothering-Sunday-Honour-your-parents.pdf
And a Godly Play twist on the parable of the prodigal son: The Prodigal Daughter, with thanks to John Griffiths:
The Prodigal Daughter