Just into my third week now at CEC, I want to thank you all for the warm and enthusiastic welcome. I look forward to getting to know you and learning more about your concerns, your ministries, and how I can support you in your faith journey.
Some of you may not be familiar with what specifically a deacon does, so I wanted to offer a brief explanation. A deacon serves as the bridge between the Church and the world - empowering others in serving the needs of the world, especially the underprivileged, those in need and those on the margins.
In our Diocese of Maryland Manual for the Diaconate, Bishop Sutton states that “the central role of the Deacon is to send the Church out, individually and collectively, to do God’s work in the world. In their role as ‘community organizers,’ Deacons hold up the needs of the world while they encourage and guide the People of God to live out their baptismal promises, transforming the world through works of mercy and justice.”
But wait! You’re already doing that here at CEC, in your many thriving outreach and pastoral care ministries. True, indeed. And my role is to work with you and engage as appropriate to remove barriers, provide guidance, and facilitate progress.
A few notes about a deacon’s duties:
Deacons are ordained to a separate, distinct and equal order of ministry. We serve under the authority of the bishop and are normally assigned to a congregation for a three-year term.
As a vocational deacon, I am not on my way to priesthood. I’ve been called to the diaconate, and I’ll be a deacon until the day I die.
My liturgical duties center on the Table (preparing for the Eucharist), the Word (proclaiming the Gospel), and the Dismissal (sending us forth from the church out into the world). I may also perform “other duties, as requested” to support Father Manny in shepherding the congregation. I’ll also be preaching about once a month.
My diaconal focus areas cross a broad range of ministries - primarily outreach, pastoral care, and social justice.
Many vocational deacons hold a secular job. In my case, I do work full time. That means I need to carefully balance work, diaconal duties, and family and personal time. I’ll try to be available, if possible, for daytime events and meetings, but sometimes I may have to catch up with ministry leaders later.
I think it’s also important to note that all Christians are called to diaconal ministry, as the Diakonia of All Believers. You can read more about this in the joint Association for Episcopal Deacons and Lutheran World Federation statement, Prophetic Diakonia: For the Healing of the World.
If you have any questions about what a deacon is or does, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God’s Peace and Blessings!