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by Michael Ford last modified 11 Sep, 2020 10:43 AM

A personal view by Eileen Martin

What it means to be a deacon

The Distinctive Diaconate is one of the three orders of Ordained Ministry within the Anglican Church: deacons, priests and bishops. For many people seeking ordination to the priesthood, time spent as a deacon is seen as a transitional stage.

In fact, the Distinctive Diaconate is a biblical order of ministry reaching back to the early Church, and as such has its own characteristics and responsibilities. These responsibilities, given with the Church’s authority, can differ immensely from parish to parish and from town ministry to rural ministry, where clergy resources are often stretched.

As a Deacon you work with the bishop, alongside the priest with whom you minister as an ‘ambassador for Christ’. You proclaim the gospel – the good news of Christ – in your life and work, so that God’s love for everyone is seen through you. You seek inspiration and sustenance from the scriptures, try to model your life upon them, and reflect on them together with God’s people.

Deacons aim to equip the Church to live in light of God’s gospel in the world. Deacons should be consistent in prayer, eagerly watching for signs of God’s presence, to reveal the Kingdom of God here on earth.

As agents of God's love, deacons bring to the Church the concerns and hopes of all God’s people, often serving on the margins. The Distinctive Diaconate is a serving role, serving particularly the poor and weak, the sick, the lonely, and those who are oppressed and powerless. Deacons must search out the careless and indifferent, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world. They act as a bridge between the people and their local church, and should be a constant encouragement to all those whom they serve.

Deacons have a special responsibility to be self-giving, a ministry entrusted by Christ to his whole Church, making Christ and his redeeming love known by their words and example. Christ is their pattern; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others. It is an ‘incarnational’ ministry, embodying Christ’s pattern. It is rooted in a place and in its life, encouraging all baptised Christians by example to live for the glory of God and reaching out to all those in need.

Further information
Your Distinctive Diaconate Representative is the Revd Angela Onions:
01225 309001,

God is calling

Is God calling you to be a Deacon? Click the graphic to download a leaflet.

God is Calling Deacon


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