Order of Deacon
The following summary is taken from the Church of England web-site:
The ministry of a deacon is to be a servant, both within the Church and in the wider community. A person who is accepted for ordination as a priest is first ordained as a deacon. Then, after a period of normally a year, he or she is ordained to the priesthood. This reminds us that humble service is always at the heart of priestly ministry. However, some are called to be life-long distinctive deacons. These are people who are called to ordained ministry but not as priests. Their ministry encapsulates the servant nature of all Christian ministry.
- From the Common Worship Ordination Service
- Following Ordination
- The Order of the Deacon:
The ordaining bishop says these words which express the heart of the ministry of a deacon:
Deacons are called to work with the bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ's kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God's purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.
Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God's people in worship. They preach the word, and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.
Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God's people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God's presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us.
After ordination, most men and women will begin their ministry in a particular parish and many will minister primarily in a parish setting of one kind or another throughout their lives. They will combine evangelism with pastoral care, preaching, teaching and leading worship. These ministries will aim to develop the life of the whole People of God in the service of God and of his world. Some will function in a specialist ministry as chaplains to hospitals, prisons, industry, schools, universities, colleges of higher and further education and the armed forces. Some will operate as Pioneer Missional Ministers and are likely to be involved with fresh expressions on church. Other areas of life such as youth or children's work, education, mission and evangelism, ecumenism, community projects and media work may be the primary focus for the ministry of a priest or a deacon. Some will engage in this ministry full time, while others will engage in it part time while continuing with their existing occupations.
©The Archbishop's Council of the Church of England
There is a great need for men and women with a commitment to diaconal ministry to serve as distinctive or vocational deacons. Deacons operate in teams, committed to collaborative working alongside priests, readers and other lay people, helping to facilitate the whole church to live out its baptismal call to serve as Christ in the world; discerning the key issues of injustice and need, and developing effective strategies to "make a difference". The diaconate represents and has as its focus "Christ the Servant". Deacons are called to remind the church of its diaconal responsibilities and to challenge the world beyond the church to tackle injustice and need.
Those called to priesthood are first ordained as deacons. The diaconal foundation of all three orders is the significant ground from which all ministry should grow: not a step to status, or a holding of power, but a recognition of the call to self-giving service in Christ. Bishops frequently refer to the diaconal basis of their order as a prominent part of their ministry. Priests, bishops and deacons are called to serve together as a three-fold order. It follows that a sound grounding in diaconal ministry is an essential experience for anyone becoming a priest. DACE is committed to supporting and developing the church's diaconal work. To this end, DACE seeks to encourage the church to provide all transitionary deacons with a carefully planned and focused period of diaconal ministry.