Who would have thought?
Who would have thought back on January 1, 2020 that now, at the end of June, we would be living in a time embroiled in a pandemic, and in a nation riddled with political and racial strife? Could we ever have imagined a situation in which we had not met for in-person worship for now over 3 months, with no end in sight? And yet, that is where we are. We meet online on Sunday mornings, for Morning Prayer. The Eucharistic vessels sit unused. But, despite it all, we are here, God's people, worshiping in a new way, a new place, apart from each each other and away from the now empty pews of the building we love so much. However, God is still among us. One of my favorite sayings that has come out of all this is "The Church is not closed - the Church has been deployed". And, indeed we have. The Church is now truly in the world - where she was always intended to be. Praise be to God!
Please Note: Deacon Gerri is currently on hiatus.
So, what exactly is a Deacon?
There are three ordained ministries in the Episcopal Church - Bishops, Priests and Deacons. All three require rigorous and lengthy periods of discernment and formation prior to ordination. Deacons may be identified by their stoles - which are worn over the left shoulder. There are two types of deacons. The first is a Transitional Deacon - this is a person who is on the track to be ordained a priest after serving a period of time as a deacon. The second is a Vocational Deacon - sometimes known as a Permanent or Perpetual Deacon. This is a person who has been discerned and formed to the specific ministry of a deacon - the "diaconate". I am a Vocational Deacon. Vocational Deacons are called and ordained to a ministry of service. They are especially charged with interpreting and communicating the needs of the world to the Church. Deacons strive to follow Christ's example of service to the needy, the sick, the hungry, and those on the margins. Vocational Deacons may be found in a variety of ministries, including feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners, serving as chaplains in hospitals, and working within our faith communities. Deacons also perform liturgical duties. The deacon always proclaims the Gospel and issues the dismissal at the close of services. They assist bishops and priests in administering the sacraments, and take communion to those who are unable to attend services. Deacons may officiate with the bishop's authorization when a priest is not available. Deacons may not consecrate the communion elements, offer absolution from sins, or issue corporate blessings. Vocational Deacons perform their duties under the direction of the diocesan bishop.
Deacon Gerri & Presiding Bishop Curry
All Saints Chapel at Sewanee,
University of the South