Since September 2019 I have been working with Louise McFerran, senior statistical researcher at Church House, to find a way of ensuring that #distinctivedeacons are held separately as a distinct body in the CofE stats of ordained clergy.
This is something we’ve been asking for, for at least 25 years.  It seems that now new software is available, this has become possible. Whoopee!  At last!
I’ve had more clarification about what we should be asking for, to get ourselves as #distinctivedeacons correctly assigned in our diocesan directories to help the CofE statistics department to harvest our stats as DDs separately from other clergy.
The national stats department is creating a field ‘Distinctive Deacon’
Please ask your diocesan directory IT boffins to do the same, and request them to revise your entries to include this field.
If they have any questions, they should get in touch with Louise McFerran, senior statistical researcher, at who is handling this for us.
What we need to do individually is to ensure that our entries in our diocesan databases/directories include those two magic words, ‘Distinctive Deacon.’
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NATIONAL MISSIONER FOR THE SOCIETY: distinctive deacons welcome to apply

It’s not often that #distinctivedeacons are specifically mentioned in an advert, but this is a rare example for a post that looks very exciting!

National Missioner to the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda

(One full-time or two half-time posts, lay or ordained, flexible location)

This new post, generously funded for two years by a grant from the Archbishops’ Council, is a unique opportunity for a passionate person, lay or ordained, to equip the 424 Parishes of the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda in recovering and encouraging a Catholic vision for evangelism.

Overseen by the Bishop of Burnley and supported by a national steering group, you will work closely with the Council of Bishops of The Society and the Council of Forward in Faith to promote a confident mission agenda and support local churches in prioritising growth. In particular you will:

  • Oversee a bold launch of the Society Mission Strategy, ‘Forming Missionary Disciples’ and prepare resources to support parishes in responding to it.
  • Develop a vision for a movement of missionary disciples by pioneering a Rule of Life for lay Christians that will support them in living out their faith in their daily lives.
  • Call together and facilitate groups of priests to enable them to grow in confidence and seek fresh joy in developing the life of the local church.
  • Build collaborative networks with the Church House Evangelism and Discipleship Team, the four part-time diocese-based catholic missioners and other groups, organisations and resource providers.
  • Explore a proposal to identify key, strategic parishes in different regions of the country that may become ‘centres of excellence’ in catholic evangelism.

It is an occupational requirement that the postholder(s) will be an Anglican in the catholic tradition in sympathy with the aims of the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda and, if ordained, will be a priest or deacon of The Society. They will have the ability to enthuse and inspire both clergy and laity across the country and have experience of church growth.

This post can be filled on a full-time basis either by a priest or distinctive deacon (with accommodation and a parish base available) or a layperson (salary to be negotiated). Alternatively, the role can be shared by two people, lay or ordained, each working on a half-time basis. The missioner(s) will be employed by an appropriate Diocesan Board of Finance.

The Job Description and Person Specification are available here.

For more information and to express an interest, please contact Bishop Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley ( for an informal conversation.

If you know anyone who may be suited to this role, please contact the Bishop of Burnley.

Closing date: 27th March 2020

Interview date: 22nd April 2020


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:



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: