I am delighted to announce that the new Church of England vocations webpage now offers a brief description of the Distinctive Diaconate that does reasonable justice to our unique vocation and ministry. It is the fruit of much inter-diocesan discussion amongst deacons and the short text reflects the remarkable unity of vocational understanding in deacons around the country and in Europe, and from all shades of churchmanship.
Building bridges between church and society
All priests are ordained as deacons first. Most are then ordained priest a year later, but others remain deacons. Such ministers are often referred to as distinctive deacons.
We are called to an outward-moving, community-minded ministry with the hallmark of mission through service. We prefer to be out and about, making contacts, building relationships, identifying and meeting needs, creating stepping-stones between God and the world. Deacons are often radical in their outlook and ready to try new ways of serving God in the community.
We have a particular concern for poverty and justice. We seek to be the voice of the voiceless, advocating for those who live on the margins of church and society, and loving those in need. We are often called ambassadors, taking the gospel into the community and bringing its needs back to the church for intercession and practical action.
We work as colleagues alongside other ministers and have a recognised role in church services which reflects the hallmarks of our ministry. We often read the Gospel, assist the priest, encourage intercession and send out the congregation, going with them as we all play our part in God’s mission.
Also, keep an eye on the link on that page (on the left hand side) ‘Stories of calling‘. Over the next few months, deacons’ stories will appear.
Please pray for this initiative, that it will bear much fruit in and through our ministry, and honour the love God has for his world.