Jottings, Curios, Ramblings and all

 

 

 
Rector’s Jottings (No 24/2018)
 

 

Dear friends,

“Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them” Acts 6:1-6

 

Last Saturday Andy Coates, a member of our congregation (2011-8), and also Cat Darkins (Pastoral Assistant 2013-14) both had hands laid on them, and were ordained to the office of deacon in St Paul’s, and in Canterbury Cathedral, respectively. The office of a deacon to which they have both been ordained began in the New Testament, in the Acts of the Apostles, as the quote above reminds us.

 

Comparing the office of deacon to the office of presbyter (or priest) will help us see what is distinct about the role of deacon. The primary spiritual leaders of a congregation are the presbyters, who are also called pastors in the New Testament. Presbyters teach or preach the Word and shepherd the souls of those under their care.

Deacons, too, have a crucial role in the life and the health of the local church, but their role is different from priests. The biblical role of deacons is to take care of the physical and logistical needs of the church so that the priests can concentrate on their primary calling.

Just like the Christian belief in the priesthood of all believers, that we all stand before God in offering our worship and prayer, and the ordained priesthood being a reminder to us all of that vocation to which we are all called, so it is with deacons. the ‘diaconate of all believers’ is something to which all Christians are called, to support the life of the church and care for all its members in many different ways.

Thus, our consideration of Andy and Cat, helps remind us all that we are called by God to different ministries: parenthood, marriage, being a church officer, making coffee at Noah’s Ark, shopping for a housebound neighbour. All ways that the service of Jesus Christ, mirrored back to us in the ministry of the deacon, encourages us all in our vocation to be Christ in the places we find ourselves.

For Andy and Cat, being a deacon is a transitional stage in ministry as the church prepares them for ordination to the priesthood. But we must be careful that the role of the deacon is not diminished in any way in these transitional arrangements, and we must celebrate the many many ordained deacons whose primary calling is to this role, as what are called permanent or distinctive deacons, and minister God’s love in parishes and communities near and far.

 

With the assurance of my prayers

 

Fr Bruce

If you think you might have vocation to be a deacon, priest, or feel called to some other ministry, please speak to Fr Bruce or Mthr Anna

To read Fr Bruce’s recent sermon on the subject of VOCATION

To see a picture of Cat Darkins, ordained by Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury, CLICKhere

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