Deacons in the Diocese of Europe

In January, distinctive Deacons Chris Saccali (Athens) and Jonathan Halliwell (St John & St Philip, the Hague, Netherlands) (picture above) were invited by DDO for the Diocese in Europe,  Canon William Gulliford, to speak to a group of enquirers. Chris and Jonathan both trained on the Eastern Region Ministry Course (Cambridge).

Chris spoke very engagingly about her extensive work in Athens with refugees. 

Jonathan explained that The Hague houses both the International Courts of Justice and the International Criminal Court. It is renowned as an international city of Peace & Justice  The Anglican church is ideally located near the Peace palace (Vredespaleis) the seat of international law in the centre of den Haag. Its diverse congregation reflects the many different nationalities represented in this city. The Diocese of Europe uses the term chaplaincy, as its churches serve a much wider area than is normally the case with a parish church.

He briefly outlined his non-stipendiary role and characterised it as a portfolio ministry, including the following aspects.

Liturgy and Faith

  • Affirming the distinctive role of the deacon in the liturgy in which way goes beyond serving at the altar is very important to me. The Acclamations (e.g. introduction to the Peace) complement the role of proclaiming the gospel (seen in the deacon’s singing of the Easter song of praise, the Exsultet) and in conversation with the President/Celebrant serve to bring together priest and people in the worship of God Almighty.  
  • One expression of my diaconal role is to act as cantor and chaplain for the choir. As well as singing the office of Choral Evensong, this could involve anything from lighting a candle or saying a prayer at the start of choir practice to organising the hospitality afterwards .
  • I am part of a team developing Junior church after Covid. During Lent, we focused on the different elements of Holy Communion and preparation for receiving first communion.
  • Together with our Reader, I am facilitating the Diocesan lay ministry and discipleship course: “Walking together in faith”

Pastoral support in chaplaincy

  • As a member of pastoral team, I visit the elderly and infirm members of our congregation.
  • I am training as a port Chaplain in the Mission to Seafarers, which offers pastoral and spiritual support in the “forgotten corners of the world”, as the ordinal puts it. This ministry is an outworking of deacon’s role at the Eucharist of proclaiming the gospel as well as in the dismissal.

A future project…

  • Several members of our congregation are passionate about the fine arts and are active Friends of the Mauritshuis Museum. I am planning to curate a workshop called “Broken beauty”, based on the Japanese art of restoring broken objects (kintsugi). This will be an outreach project which engages the gospel and contemporary culture. It reflects the understanding of the deacon as “community educator” in the new qualities required of the distinctive deacon.

Thank you Jonathan and Chris for sharing your experience with us!

One thought on “Deacons in the Diocese of Europe

  1. What a creative range in Jonathan’s diaconal calling! And thank God for Chris and her faithful work with refugees. I remember she spoke about this at our first conference in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.