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 … Continue reading Deacons in the Diocese of Europe
I have now formally stepped down as Chair of CENDD, and have handed over to Deacon Gill Newman, in whom I have the utmost confidence that she will lead the Network forward under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have been so grateful for all those who have worked alongside me, prayed with me, shared their wisdom and contributed to the steering group over the past six years. I am amazed and grateful at the way ~God has brought forward new deacons to take over and develop roles in the national steering group.
“I came to the food bank, I still had my car and I was well dressed. As I entered the building I overheard people say – “what is she doing here?” That’s why it is so important to me that people don’t judge a book by its cover. We never know what is going on in someone’s life, behind closed doors.”
I recognised myself moving from orphan to son. People don’t think that they are worth something, worth anything. You can encounter poverty in so many places.
For John, prayer and kindness are at the heart of Christianity and his choice of Bible readings reflects that. John chose the book of Ruth from the Old Testament – a book he has come across recently as his church are reading through the Old Testament. He read it straight through in 20 minutes. He said: “I was really drawn to this book. I liked the way Ruth looked after her mother-in-law, Naomi. If someone hadn’t helped me I wouldn’t be here today.
Sometimes I thought that Jesus was so perfect that I couldn’t go to him with the stuff that had happened to me. But when you do, you find yourself literally set free.
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.”