Recently a number of deacons have suggested that we set up ‘deacon hubs’ across the country. The definition of a networking hub on Quora says
A Hub is a networking device which receives a signal from the source, amplifies it and sends it to multiple destinations or computers.
An active hub receives the signal, amplifies it and sends it on to others. This is a great way of describing a deacons’ hub: when we get together, we receive God’s ‘signal’ or call together, we share it in a way that amplifies it and we send it on to those whom he may be calling to be deacons.
So what is a deacon hub?
It’s a way of getting in touch with other deacons nearby and meeting together occasionally. The meetings can take any form you want, and would be primarily for fellowship, prayer, mutual support and just having time with ‘our tribe’. This is really important, especially for isolated deacons, because it’s a break from the endless need we find we have to explain who we are!
How do we go about it?
If you’re a lone deacon, find out who the deacons are in your neighbouring dioceses. Contact them and suggest you get together and create common cause. What you do doesn’t have to be big or complicated: a lunch (if you are all free during the day), or an evening meal or a Saturday lunch (if you’re not) just to chat, share stories, swap experiences, encourage each other, and, if you can find a quiet spot, pray together. In this way we ‘share the signal we all receive from our source’, who is God himself: we ‘amplify’ it by being with others who are receiving the same signal: and, reinvigorated, we go on our way to share God’s signal with our communities.
If you can’t get together physically, then consider a conference call or a skype call.
Deacon Alison Handcock puts it like this:
we need diaconal hubs where we sing the same song, speak the same language, and enable other deacons and diaconally minded folk to grow in confidence and value so that they/we in turn can share the love and encourage the whole church to feel valued and become more diaconal. Setting God’s people free!
Or, to put it more theologically:
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Cor 12:4-7)
Onwards and upwards!
(diagram from the Disabilities Trust)