It is, however, well to remember that the clergy does not mean the priesthood only. The work of house to house visiting is intended by the Prayer Book for the diaconate (“to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the parish: to intimate their estates, Names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate”–The Ordering of Deacons); while for the priesthood is reserved the more spiritual work (“to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures”–The Ordering of Priests). In nothing have the authorities of the Church done her greater harm than in refusing to establish a genuine, that is, a permanent diaconate.
“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock: We ask you to bestow upon your Church the gifts of the Holy Spirit in abundance, and to raise up from among us faithful and able persons called to the ministries of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Inspire them to spend and be spent for the sake of the Gospel, and make them holy and loving servants and shepherds of the flock for whom you shed your most precious blood. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.” (BCP 650)
There is no doubt that a young Province such as ours is in dire need of Godly, studious, and determined Ministers if she is to accomplish her God-given task. It is by the Grace of God that there exist today many young men who are actively pursuing the Divine Call to the Presbyterate. This is all well and good, but it is nonetheless incomplete. For, “perhaps few measures would so directly and effectually increase the strength of the Church, both to do her Divine Master’s work and to resist her enemies, as the Revival of the Diaconate.” (C.H. Sale) It is not by coincidence that the first Christian Martyr was St. Stephen the Deacon. What’s more, neither is it mere happenstance that it was the same St. Stephen who saw the Heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). St. Paul the Apostle likewise saw Our Lord’s radiant glory, but it was the particular dignity of Stephen the Deacon to be the first. This is precisely because the Church’s Deacons are Her first line of defense. When the Church finds herself in strife or requiring Reformation, the Deacons have always been there to comfort and strengthen Her. Consider St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, St. Francis, Bl. Yona Kanamuzeyi, Bl. Ini Kopuria, Bl. Charles Sapibuana, and many more. It is only slight hyperbole when we say that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church because to do so Hades must first come face to face with the Lord’s Deacons.
This is why the Society is committed to supporting the Vocational Diaconate by two primary means: unsurprisingly, the first is through prayer. The Society prays, and asks for all other members of the Province to pray, on behalf of those seeking Ordination. Secondly, the Society will be supporting those preparing for the Diaconal Ministry financially by providing Scholarships. These scholarships will be funded by member dues, donations to the Society, and purchases. Please see below for details, and continue to pray for our work and the future of our Province. Pactum serva!
Those who receive a Society Scholarship will be enrolled as “Society Deacons”. Accompanying this privilege are several expectations in which all Ordinands are required to meet. As of the moment, the Society is only offering scholarships for one institution: Saint Paul’s House of Formation (SPHF). Throughout the Four Semesters of study, the Society expects: that the Ordinand…
- Keep the Society’s Rule of Life as is outlined for a Deacon
- Complete supplemental reading list alongside regular studies as will be outlined by the Society for each Ordinand individually.
- Swear to remain within the Diaconate for no less than five years within the Anglican Church in North America without seeking the Presbyterate or transfer to any other Province. This is to ensure that the program is producing Vocational (i.e. Permanent) Deacons for the Province without hindering those who may be called to further ministry later on or elsewhere.
- Begin paying Society dues upon ordination, and remain a Society member for the duration of said five years.
If any of the above requirements are violated without the Society’s blessing, the Ordinand will be expected to reimburse the Society for any payments already made on the Ordinand’s behalf.
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 to 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.