A deacon is a baptized person called and empowered by God and the Church to be a model of Christ’s servant ministry for all people. As agents of God’s compassion and reconciling grace, deacons are missionaries to the world and messengers to the Church of the world’s needs, hopes, and concerns. In the Church, deacons call forth, empower, and inspire the baptized to respond to these needs. The role of the deacon in liturgy mirrors this role of the deacon in Church and world. Deacons are living symbols of Christ’s presence as they embody Christ’s servant ministry and point to the presence of Christ in those they serve.
~ North American Association for the Diaconate
The education/formation process is intended to be completed in a minimum of two years. Before ordination each candidate shall be prepared in and demonstrate basic competence in five general areas:
1) Academic studies, including The Holy Scriptures, theology, and the tradition of the Church
2) Diakonia and the diaconate
3) Human awareness and understanding
4) Spiritual development and discipline
5) Practical training and experience
The education/formation requirements are met by attending monthly gatherings with six events beginning Friday evenings and concluding late Saturday afternoons (January, March, May, July, October, December) and four Saturday events (February, April, September, November), each year. Topics include group development, homiletics, Christian Education/Formation (including faith development, learning and leadership styles), systems theory, and others. Theological reflections on academic studies are also part of the formation process. The formation process shall also include a basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or an equivalent as approved by the Commission on Ministry (COM) and the Bishop, sexual misconduct prevention training, training regarding Title IV of these canons, and anti-racism training.
During the education and formation process evaluation of the participant’s progress will be made in accordance with Canon III, Section 6 (i).
“The Bishop, after consultation with the Deacon and the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight, may assign a Deacon to one or more congregations, other communities of faith- or non-parochial ministries.” (Title III, Canon 7.4- Appendix B) The bishop may re-assign a deacon, or the deacon may request re-assignment, at any time after the second year with a congregation. The gifts, talent, and experience of a deacon will be considered in deployment decisions, as well as the ministry needs of the diocese. The deacon shall have an annual written letter of agreement with the presbyter, vestry, and bishop.
A list of Vocational Diaconate Committee members may be accessed here.