For years now we have been trying to get distinctive deacons added into the Church of England clergy stats, as a distinct unit, instead of being included in the general clergy stats. This would really help to see how the diaconate is doing across the country, and would give us some objective data.
I’m in touch with Louise McFerran, Senior Statistical Researcher at Church House. They are rejigging the way they collect stats, and this is the best opportunity we have to find a way of helping them to collect up the distinctive deacon statistics.
Here’s what she says:
Having read your list I’m wondering if we’ve been approaching this wrong by thinking in terms of job roles, and we should be thinking in terms of titles. For example if all (and only) Distinctive Deacons, (regardless of whether they are listed as PTO etc) had a title of “Deacon” then we’d be able to filter on this. …
The best source for people data moving forward will be the new HR system, which we are encouraging all systems to feed off, so if we can get that right, then we’re in business. The idea is that when people express an interest in ministry, for example going through the BAP process they will be entered on to the system. If we can get that first title when they are ordained entered correctly, then that’s a start. Then it will be up to dioceses to keep records up to date. I think we need a multi pronged approach:
- Encourage dioceses to ensure that Distinctive Deacons have an identifiable title in their diocesan directories/people systems
- encourage Distinctive Deacons to check their own titles in their diocesan directories and ask them to be amended if not
- and then if you’re able to provide me with a list of the DDs you know about I can do some QA work this end.
I don’t think it’s going to be a quick fix, but I do think we have a real opportunity to get this right with the new system.
So please, collect up the stats in your diocese and send them to me, and I’ll pass them on to Louise, so we can make a start. I have an old DACE prayer diary, which lists all the people we knew about who were deacons in your diocese up to 2017. Check your diocese and if some of the names are new to you, do follow them up to find out if the people on the list are (1) still deacons and (2) still there!
Get in touch with me via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DistinctivelyDeacon/
or the GoDeacons Whatsapp
or through email email@example.com
Looking forward to hearing from you. Let’s get this sorted!
(image from North East Waste and Resource Recovery Group)