As deacons we are pretty starved of resources about our vocation and ministry. But there’s good news. Last year there was an international ecumenical conference on the diaconate in Saskatchewan: see report here.
As a follow-up, a book is coming out in August this year with all the talks, to be called ‘The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective’, published by Sacristy Press. The speakers were all very experienced leading Episcopal deacons or people who have been involved with diaconal formation for many years. They include our own Canon Rosalind Brown, and English Methodist deacon David Clark.
You can view all the conference talks here:
(That should keep us quiet for a while!)
Read more details in Deacon Michael Jackson’s latest letter:
Message to Conference Participants – March 2019-2
Many deacons are helped and inspired by the brilliant Canon Rosalind Brown’s book ‘Being a Deacon Today’. She is one of our leading theologians on the diaconate, and also attended the international conference on the diaconate in Canada this May, where she presented two papers. I’m delighted to have her permission to publish them here.
First up is her groundbreaking suggestion that the diaconate should look much more to Holy Spirit theology as its underpinning and inspiration. In this paper she spells it out in more detail.
I’ve highlighted some of the sections that struck me most. Here’s a taster:
However, it seems that quite early on in the Church’s history Ignatius had to correct an undue narrowing of the ministry of deacons, saying that they are not primarily deacons of meats and drinks; that was subsumed into their primary, Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered proclamation of the good news in word and deed. So, in Acts 6, Stephen performed signs, wonders and prophetic proclamation and Philip was an evangelist (Acts 6.8-14, 8.26-40). This so destabilised the status quo that Stephen was martyred: as someone has commented, you are not martyred for serving food to elderly ladies. There was much more to their ministry than that and we should recover that perspective, as Ignatius did.
Read the whole document here: Brown R. 1. Theological underpinnings of the diaconate. June 2018
(image from hanlonstructuralmovers.ie)
Canon Rosalind Brown has given permission for this draft of her article for Ecclesiology to be published here. In it she argues for a further development of the theological underpinning of diaconal ministry which recognises that the ministry of Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and that he sent the Holy Spirit to empower his followers in their proclamation of the gospel. Strengthening the pneumatological foundation of diaconal ministry gives it a more secure Trinitarian foundation and an impetus for mission that could help to transform the mission of the church.
It’s an inspiring read! rbrown Diaconate, for submission to Ecclesiology
If you subscribe to the journal Ecclesiology you can find the final version of the article here: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/17455316-01302005