Church Times—New report: deacons should be seen as more distinctive

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Deacons, even those impatient to be priests, may be required by their bishop to spend longer than one year in the diaconate, “in order to live more fully into that calling”, if the General Synod welcomes a new report from the Church of England’s Faith and Order Advisory Group.

It could also lead to some Readers’ being encouraged to test their vocations as deacons. “A pro-active discernment of the vocation of some Readers, by bishops and diocesan staff, could lead to a significant harvest of ordinands, especially for the distinctive diaconate,” the group finds.

Some Readers are experiencing a crisis of morale, says the report, The Mission and Ministry of the Whole Church. They feel squeezed between the clergy and “the upsurge of expressions of lay ministry”. Although some Readers would see the ministry of distinctive deacons as too close to their own for comfort, the group would prefer to see suitable Readers prepared for the diaconate rather than enlarge the duties attached to the office of Reader.

“For some, diaconal ministry would be an ongoing commitment: their ministry would find its fulfilment in the distinctive diaconate. For others, the diaconate would lead, perhaps after a period of several years, to ordination to the presbyterate,” it says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Philip Snyder wrote:

I actually enjoyed the article.  It has long been a contention of mine that we do not form our priests as deacons first.  All too often, we consider the deacons as “Junior Priests.”  This also leads to the confusion for us deacons who are not transitional.  They often wonder when we will be ordained to the priesthood, not thinking that we are called to be and remain deacons.

Phil Snyder

August 31, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
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