Tag: national conference

‘WITH’

At our recent national conference ‘Deacons on the Move’, Deacon Alison Handcock (Bath and Wells)

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led our final worship which included this reflection, read by different voices, which she calls simply ‘With‘.  A number of people were very struck by it and have asked for a copy:  Alison is happy for you to use it.

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WITH

In the ordination service for deacons the word ‘with’ appears several times.  Deacons are called to work with priest and bishops as ambassadors of the kingdom;  to study the scriptures with the people of God.

Deacons are ordained to an outward-focussed sacramental and representative role, and called to model collaborative ways of working and empower all the people of God in their own diaconal ministry.  Some deacons work and connect between other agencies and churches as a bridge or stepping stone, linking the church with the world.

In the process of this pondering I looked up the word ‘with’ in the Gospels and was fascinated to see when it showed up. There were lots of occurrences when Jesus is with his disciples, but several too when he catches them arguing with one another. . . a stumbling block to working with.

(Different Voices)

  1. There’s 72 of us – how on earth does he expect us to work together? We’re all different, all passionate about our cause . . . and about our way of doing things. It would be so much easier to go alone to do things my way! It’s simpler, less complicated.
  1. But we are called to go together. ..to ‘be’ and to ‘go’ WITH Him and WITH others to places beyond our boundaries.
  1. But both prove difficult at times;  for ‘WITH’ requires us to listen. . . to truly listen, to him and to others.
  1. WITH’ forces us to let go of control and our preconceived ideas.
  1. WITH’ confronts the language of comparison and coercion by respecting and rejoicing in difference.
  1. WITH’ challenges us to walk slower and more intentionally, to carefully navigate choppy waters in order to see a different view.
  1. But ‘WITH’ also gives us companionship, friends to party with and a box full of gifts, which when shared, open doors to a new future.
  1. ‘WITH’ opens up new ways of working, of hearing, of living together –where no-one is greater than the other and all are called to serve a world beyond ourselves.
  1. WITH’ is counter cultural, it goes against the grain . . . take no sandals, no purse, no attitude that will hinder what Jesus says.
  1. To ‘GO WITH’, in body or in mind, is to go beyond what we know – to discover a new shape, a new language, a new hope  . . . together.
  1. ‘WITH’, calls us to represent Christ, WITH his power and authority among the least, the lost and the lonely, and to join in WITH what God is doing, among a people who have not yet learnt the language of ‘WITH’.

Deacon Alison Handcock (Deacons’ conference 2018)

 

(Twitter image With Winner)

('With' is slightly edited for length and for ease of use)

DEACONS ON THE MOVE! Conference report

a magnificent conference!                                               wonderful!    

                         Congratulations on a very good day  

                                                          an incredible success

                                            Fantastic day,  I really feel excited about the future

                  an excellent gathering – inspiring

These are just a few of the many positive comments from last Saturday’s national conference for deacons, ‘Deacons on the Move’.  Deacons from all over the country were excited about getting together for the first time in many years.

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Here’s the report:  please feel free to copy this or use it in any way in which you feel it would advance the cause of the diaconate.  Send it to your bishop, your DDO and your diocesan communications officer.  Offer it to the diocesan newsletter, use it to tell your diocesan or deanery synod about it.  Put it into your parish newsletter.  Spread it around!

DEACONS ON THE MOVE

Deacons from Scotland to Plymouth, from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Wight, converged on The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham on Saturday 27 October for ‘Deacons on the Move’, the first national conference for distinctive deacons for many years.  The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, led the opening worship and blessed the conference. Several Diocesan Directors of Ordinands also attended on behalf of their bishops, along with diaconal ordinands and enquirers.

The keynote speaker, the Revd Professor Paul Avis, addressed the conference theme, the place of the deacon in the mission of the church. The diaconate is a ‘flagship ministry’, he claimed, and underpins all ordained ministry because it is the fundamental commissioning for ministry. Deacons are ‘heralds of the gospel’. Deacons are the original pioneers of the church, breaking new ground, holding outreach and intercession together, their work flowing from and returning to the Eucharist.

The Revd Dr David Hewlett, Principal of The Queen’s Foundation which offers ecumenical ordination training for Anglicans, Methodists and others, delighted the delegates by announcing plans to offer flexible study courses tailored to diaconal formation, complementing and augmenting what is currently available for Continuing Ministerial Development.  Sharing his own experience of recently training a diaconal ordinand, he raised pertinent questions about how theological education institutions can adequately prepare distinctive deacons when they are infrequent, when a TEI is unlikely to have a staff member who is a role model, and when there is little guidance in terms of agreed learning outcomes for deacons.  He then joined a panel with Professor Avis, the Revd Liz Boughton from the Ministry Division, and the deacons of the conference steering group, to answer questions which included the lack of stipends in the diaconate and the historical bishop-deacon relationship.

Lively discussion went on in buzz groups which tackled diaconal presence in chaplaincy, the deacon speaking truth to power, the deacon connecting church and community, and sacramental storytelling.  The Revd David Mann, DDO for the Diocese of York, led a discussion about the way forward for the diaconate, and the Revd Deacon Gill Kimber, Warden of the College of St Philip the Deacon in Exeter diocese and convenor of the conference, spoke of her vision for a renewed, vigorous diaconate, taking its proper place as the third order of ordained ministry, reaching out, meeting needs, building bridges, caring for issues of justice and poverty.

Most deacons work in isolation, constantly confronting both ignorance and apathy about their diaconal ministry.  This conference was the first opportunity for many to meet with like-minded ministers, to deepen their understanding of the diaconate, and to share in the joy and enthusiasm of their vocation.

The Revd Deacon Gill Kimber, Convenor

NEW NATIONAL CONFERENCE: DEACONS ON THE MOVE! Book your ticket now!

I’m ridiculously excited to announce our national conference for Church of England deacons, DDOs, vocations advisers, diaconal ordinands and enquirers!  Our speaker will be Rev Professor Paul Avis, one of our leading theologians, who will explore ‘a Flagship Ministry:  Deacons and the Church’s Mission.’

It will take place on 27 October this year.  All the details are on Eventbrite, where you can also buy your ticket.  But hurry!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/deacons-on-the-move-tickets-42469581662?aff=estw

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A unique day conference bringing together distinctive or ‘permanent’ deacons from all over the UK. Due to the currently small numbers of distinctive deacons in the Church of England, many distinctive deacons find themselves working in relative isolation from one another, often alongside other colleagues who may not fully understand or support their ministry. The aim of this day conference is therefore to enable distinctive deacons to MEET TOGETHER to be encouraged and inspired, and to emerge better equipped to serve God in this rich ministry to which they are called.

We are delighted that our speaker will be the Revd Professor Paul Avis, author of several books on the church, ministry and mission, including A Ministry Shaped by Mission, The Identity of Anglicanism and The Vocation of Anglicanism. Paul will be talking to us about: A Flagship Ministry – Deacons and the Church’s Mission.

There will also be opportunities during the day to hear and be inspired by deacons’ own stories, and to share in worship together.

The conference is being held in the beautiful surroundings of the Woodbrooke Quaker Centre in Selly Oak, Birmingham and is easily accessible by public transport. Further details about the venue along with travel directions can be found on their website at https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/

With little or no training generally available to distinctive deacons at a diocesan level, one of the aims of this conference is to train and equip deacons in their ministry. Delegates are therefore encouraged to talk to their Dioceses about claiming the conference costs from Ministerial Training budgets. Unlimited tea and coffee, freshly baked cakes and biscuits, and lunch are included in the ticket price.