Announcing The Arrival of Deacon Eugene Wright
by Fr. Lee+
On September 22, 2018, Eugene Wright will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. Our Bishop has assigned the future Deacon Wright to serve at both St. Anne's and Church of the Ascension. He will begin his service to our congregation beginning October 1. He will spend the month of October at St. Anne's getting to know us then he will do the same at Ascension in November before he starts a biweekly schedule serving each parish. You will see him in our liturgy performing the liturgical functions of a deacon, but that is not the main function of a deacon. The diaconate is a "servant" ministry of the church meant to form a bridge between the church and the world. They are called to minister to the local community, empower the laity to serve the local community, and bring the needs of the community to the church. As Deacon Wright gets to know us, you will see him get involved in our ministries as well as encourage new ministry to the local area, by helping all of you to learn how to better serve in Christ's name. Deacon Wright will serve under my supervision (and the rector of Ascension for work there) but ultimately, is under the direct authority of the Bishop. I am very excited about St. Anne's receiving a deacon, as I was part of the commission to reestablish the diaconate in our dioceses and create the discernment and formation process (which takes anywhere from 3-5 years) for ordination.
From the Episcopal Church Website
"Deacons are members of one of three distinct orders of ordained ministry (with bishops and presbyters). In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises "a special ministry of servanthood" directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). This definition reflects the practice of the early church, in which deacons were ordained "not to the priesthood but to the servanthood [diakonia, "ministry"] of the bishop" (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition). In the ancient Greek-speaking world the term diakonos meant an intermediary who acted or spoke for a superior. Christian deacons were agents of the bishop, often with oversight of charity. Since ancient times the liturgical functions of deacons have suggested the activity of angels. As they proclaim the gospel, lead intercessions, wait at the eucharistic table, and direct the order of the assembly, deacons act as sacred messengers, agents, and attendants. The revival of the order of deacons in the twentieth century has emphasized social care and service."
A little more about Deacons from our Diocesan Website.
Deacons work as a link between the Church and the world. They discern people's needs, hopes, and concerns and empower faith communities to respond. They regularly move between the church and the communities they serve, speaking the truth in love, and encouraging the sacred and broken to enter into relationship with each other.
Bishop Mariann has made the work of deacons a priority in the diocese. Deacons are deployed from the bishop's office to develop collaborative ministries at the parishes they serve. They are network builders--linking neighborhoods to local parishes in order to grow faith communities. At services, deacons assist bishops and priests in the liturgy by reading the gospel, inviting the confession, setting the altar for Eucharist and offering the dismissal. Deacons in the diocese are led by Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz.
More information on deacons can be found in the Commission on Ministry's statement on the diaconate or in Canon 6 and 7 of The Episcopal Church.
From the Ordination Rite of a Deacon
God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from time to time. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself. (BCP, p. 543)