At the deacons’ conference yesterday in York, we talked at length about what it meant to be a ‘deacon in the community’ and the challenges of maintaining that focus when there’s a lot of pressure to be ‘inside the church’ instead.  Several people said that they did not consider getting people over the threshold and into the church building the be-all and end-all.  It’s the deacons’ focus to take the faith of the church outside the church, into the community.  Wherever that happens, some thought, it’s ‘church’.

With this in my mind, I was very struck to find that a friend posted this cartoon today on Facebook.

yr deacon shd be here comment195-20160511162445276_web



  1. Yup……

    Just for your interest Gill:

    Before I arrived in my community there had been an upset with a local minister and his superior religious administrative structures and he resigned his ministry. He was well-liked and talked of in warm terms. The replacement was in post when I became part of the wider community and I heard a lot about ‘the minister who retired’ who, was described as a more caring person than the replacement currently sitting in post.

    A mobile loyal following continued to arrive for church services and at the end everyone was rewarded with a Toronto Blessing given right royally on behalf of the Almighty. There was no blessing for those who did not arrive and sit in the pews within the stone walls of the edifice and there was not going to be. This man made it known he had no time for anyone who did not physically attend his church. Many of the long-term congregants grumbled they were beginning to feel excluded even when at the services. Minister was sweetness and light to a small evangelical group he was developing and the original congregants were being made to feel irrelevant to the life of the church.

    Meantime, the retired minister, who still lived in the area, continued to visit all the housebound ex-flock and others who would benefit from a visit or a chat, people of all ages. He was not going to desert people because he no longer wore the cloth and dog collar. He was a caring man who took his idea of ministry where he felt it was helpful and he was made welcome.

    Post Script: When Evangelical man left, the position was very hard to fill, (for years) because of the divisive politics he had left in his wake. It took a retired single-minded locum from Australia to set some new and inclusive ground rules for others to follow.


    1. A sad story, and one that’s repeated in different guises all too often. My heart goes out to the minister who resigned. That was a very drastic, heartbreaking step to take. I could bang my head against the nearest brick wall because of church leaders who don’t tackle underlying causes. I could wring my hands and deplore the ‘state of the C of E’ … but I know there are plenty of excellent ministers who I believe are working to meet the needs of others rather than building their own personal kingdom of like-minded followers.


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