Recently, with the help of Ann Morisy, we distinctive deacons have been considering at length and in depth what it means to be ministers ‘on the edge, on the margins, in the doorway, in the liminal space’ between church and community, between God and those who do not yet know his love.
With my diocesan steering group, I put together a four-session course for deacons, called ‘Preparing for Mission’. It was done with exactly this scenario in mind: that we, as deacons, stand in the doorway, in the space between church and community. We explore it, we reach out through it, we discern what God is doing in our contexts. We encourage our churches to look outwards. We put together what we know of our communities and prayerfully consider what God might be calling us to do. We search out the forgotten, we are agents of God’s love, we intercede, we are heralds.
Using elements from the bishop’s charge to deacons in the ordination service, I thought it might be helpful to post this course, as it may trigger some ideas. You can find the whole document here https://deaconstories.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/4-session-course-for-parishes-preparing-for-mission2.pdf and it is part of the ‘Deacons’ Tool Kit’.
The idea is not that it should be followed slavishly! – but more, that deacons, with the support of their incumbents, use the ideas as a jumping-off point for their own contexts.