I have reached final approval to be ordained as a vocational deacon in the Anglican Church. This has been a journey, taking me from 30 years of ministry in the Assemblies of God to the choice of being vocational deacon rather than moving into the priesthood.
A vocational deacon is vital to the life of the Church and an office the Anglican Church in North America has been restoring and recognized as a valuable ministry. They assist the bishop and the local church. The simple form of what is different is that in the Anglican Church the priest blesses the sacrament and the people. They lead the congregation in the liturgy. The deacon serves in many capacities including the reading of the Gospel and the prayers of the people. On occasion they could bring the sermon if asked.
There is an exhortation the bishop says when ordaining the deacon and I have been meditating on this for quite some time. It is part of my prayer as I near ordination through the laying of hands by our bishop.
It belongs to the office of a Deacon to share in the humility and service of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the strengthening of the Church, which is his body. You are to read the Gospel and proclaim Christ at all times through your service, to instruct both young and old in the Catechism, and, at the direction of the Bishop or Priest, to baptize and preach.
You are to assist the Priest in public worship, to guide the intercessions of the Congregation, to aid in the administration of Holy Communion and carry the Sacrament to those who are kept from the Table by illness, infirmity, or imprisonment.
Furthermore, you are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. It is the Deacon’s office to encourage and equip the household of God to care for the stranger, to embrace the poor and helpless, and to seek them out, so that they may be relieved.
That’s the ministry in a nutshell. Later this month will be a holy time when the bishop lays hands on me to ordain me into this calling. It marks a new season in life for me. It is a season gifted to me by the Lord. I am deeply grateful.