I heard the call to rebuild the church…in a new way. To use my position as a male permanent deacon to advocate for the ordination of women as deacons. I now understand why Discerning Deacons does the work that they do, and I encourage you to get involved.
'As deacons we are privileged to spend much time with the Eucharist. We bear the chalice, the blood of Christ. We cleanse the vessels after Mass. We bring the Eucharist to the sick. Even so, sometimes I seek extra time with the Lord, particularly when ministering to those facing difficult circumstances including relationship difficulties, addictions, racism, etc. Relying upon my own resources, I may run into an impasse.'
In this part of the world where there are few priests and with the permission of her bishop, Cira has baptized more than 1,300 children and adults. That the Catholic Church has a presence and can accompany people in these communities is largely due to the efforts of women like Ciria who have braved all manner of weather to travel by boat or to set up camp sites in communities where they travel along dirt roads by auto.
“Every survivor of modern slavery has a different story but we have found they are usually super keen to work and get involved and be part of the community. They love being part of a team and particularly appreciate learning to bake, one-to-one with our volunteers. The café is a caring and nurturing environment and I think that makes a difference to the survivors.”
This article by Deacon Erin Moriz for Anglican Compass wrestles with a number of issues all-too-familiar to #distinctivedeacons in the Church of England. Deacon Erin grew up in the Southern Baptists, but is ordained into the Anglican Church of North America.
Yes, lament is acceptable, but trust in God is vital. My prayerful question was ‘God, show me how can I use this experience to be a positive one?’
The debate about whether the Catholic Church should ordain women to the diaconate often focuses on theological and historical arguments. Rarely, though, do we hear from women who themselves feel called to this ministry. Meet Casey Stanton, co-director of Discerning Deacons, a project to engage Catholics in the active discernment of the church about women and the diaconate
'A number of helpful conversations with significant people introduced me to the Distinctive Diaconate and I was challenged to at least explore the possibility. The oldest ‘order’ of ministry in the Church, with St Stephen listed as the first appointed deacon (and martyr) in Acts 6, deacons were called to serve the wider community, bringing the needs and hopes of all the people into the Church, through relationship, prayer and active service.'
The pandemic has enforced a return to simpler times. With no gathering for corporate worship in person, and no audio-visual kit available to provide an alternative, weekly interaction has been reduced to a simple leaflet with a short reflection on the readings of the day: something that can lift the imagination beyond the confinement of spending up to 23 hours a day in a room with a lavatory, and place the individual in the perspective of God’s wider world, if only for a while.
“But I was confused at that time as I thought then that a vicar was very much inside the church. My passion is for reaching out to people who don’t come to church. “Then I found out about the diaconate – I am going to be trained as a distinctive deacon and my focus as a distinctive deacon can be described as being at the door of the church, welcoming people in and also encouraging the church to go out into the world.”