The deaconhood of all believers

I don’t know about you.. but that almost sounds like part of a YA book title from a series of books aimed at teenagers, “Five go deaconing together”, “The Secret Seven and the deacon’s garden”. “Percy Jackson and the search for the missing deaconhood of all believers”

We hear a lot about the priesthood all believers.

TLDR explanation: That in regards to “access” to God, any Christian has as much “right” as anyone in the ministry from a pope to a curate on his or her first day.  This does not deny the authority of ministry, nor that a minister has a fundamental change of being at the point of their ordination and sealing into the ministry of the Church by the Holy Spirit – yes, I know there is a posh Greek theological word for this, and no, at this moment in time I cannot remember it – just that their change is a change within them and an empowerment for their ministry, not a “special access” or “VIP” status in regards to  “access” to God.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the deaconhood of all believers.

One of the myriad joys of deacon ministry is that deacons can encourage all believers in the church (including the priests!) to look at their own servant ministry, their “deaconhood” in what they do.  How they are embassadors for Christ in their workplace and daily lives, how they are servants of Christ when they are putting other people’s needs before their own – tidying the church without recommence, cleaning for a person who they know is struggling, volunteering at a youth group, shopping for someone who through age or emotional / mental need cannot leave the house, nursing someone who needs care, feeding someone who is hungry, speaking up for someone who does not feel like they have a voice.

I am encouraged that whilst in my area the deaconate is a neglected ministry within the Church of England (give me time…..(and patience, lot of patience, Lord, (oh, and courage Lord.. strength, lots of your Spirit, in fact, any gift going, Lord!)))) People having a deaconal nature is not.  I see so many people sacrificing of themselves, almost to the point of their capacity, and I am so grateful for them for that, and the church should be to.

As we approach Passiontide, we are coming to the time for Cathedral’s to have the Chrism Eucharist.

One of the parts of this service is the renewal of Ministry vows, where all types of ministry are affirmed, and vows recommitted to.  Obviously in areas where deacons are less encouraged only a few people stand at the point when the deacon’s vows are recommitted to.

I am struck with the image that perhaps this should be a “I am Spartacus” moment, that like those who were willing to die to save Sparticus, all believers should stand, for, we ALL are deacons (especially priests as their priestly vows only complement their deaconal vows, they don’t replace them) – some just don’t realise it yet, or have not been told.

As such, no matter what the future may hold, I remain, everyday, an everyday deacon.

Time to duck and cover?

Sorry I have been so quiet.. work is… complicated at the moment, and takes up more thought space than it should.

My mind is also in a weird place, slowly formulating what to write in my essay to the diocese, and how to do it without reading another flipping book about the joys of the priesthood or readership (no offence to my Reader and Priest friends).

Anyway.. enough apologies, time for the actual reason for the post.

So.. last night was meant to be an evening with bishop Alistair (Derby Bishop) followed by a Deanary Synod vote about whether we merge our two deanerys (Heanor & Erewash Valley). In the evening the bishop gave our table groups questions to discuss for 5 mins then present to the group.

One of the questions was along the lines of “if we are saying that the kingdom of God is spread by encouraging people to encounter God even in the smallest of ways, then how are we to use our structures and resources for this kind of witness?”

We discuss the issue, then the wonderfully oblidging person (one of our churchwardens) who had stood up for the previous two answers suddenly nudged me, refused to stand up, and did a “Your turn”.


I took a deep breath… and said something along the lines of:

“We discussed that is was not about getting people to feel that they have to do things a certain way, but ensuring everyone in our community knows that they both belong and are loved.

We must be in our communities and engaging with them regularly for them to see this, it is not about the community becoming members of the church, but the church being part of the community so that the encounters with God can happen.

We need to be more flexiable in our structures to allow this to happen *deep breath*, one of the problems in the Church of England is that we say we want community involvment, but we have drawn away from it and seperated ourselves from the communities to which we belong.  We push so hard to encourage people to the priesthood or readership that we have lost sight of our diaconal calling to the community, and this is to our detriment, when our churches lose focus on the community others rise to take their place – and example being when the church was often not involved with the impoverished in the Victorian Era, the Salvation Army rose up to take up what we had lost”

There had been nods throughout, and happy faces doing the nodding in a “finally, someone said it” way… but I dared not look to the bishop as I have been told on a number of occasions “Derby does not ‘do’ deacons, and is unlikely to change”.

My girlfriend said something similar as her table had people like ours (and our diaconally minded vicar (woo hoo))

Afterwards the bishop came over, and thanked us both for what we had said – and it does not seem to have been just being polite, as before that he had been speaking to the rural dean, did a gesture of “ah, I just need a moment, excuse me” when he came over, and then went back to the rural dean…

Which then begs the questions…. if our parishes want us to work in the communities… and the bishops wants us to too… why are we a diocese that “Does not do Deacons”?

I can see this essay being quite interesting to write.


Just time for a short one.

I found this image and found it amusing.

It reminds me of the current attitude that I percieve to deacons in the church of england.

The deacon is meant to be the bishop and priests right hand “man”, the people with their ear to the ground and eyes wide open to the problems in the area, all parishes should have them, whether they be part time, full time, stipended or none stipended.

Instead vocations will give superficial confirmation that the ministry of the deacon is an important one, but seem to more actively to push (and push and push) towards readership or priesthood.

The priests end up doing both their own vocation as well as trying to cover that of the deacon… and then diocese seem confused about the fact that so many priest feel unfulfilled and exausted and wonder what can be done.

so…… as a everyday deacon, enough of this backwards thinking, time to MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!




I aten’t dead!

To quote Granny Weatherwax, “I aten’t dead”.

I atent dead

Just been extremely busy with work with a colleage having moved to another department, and having to largely do the work of two people.

Well, I now have a new “partner in crime”, so should be back shortly.

The last supper, as imagined by Andrew White

Due to the time I finished work I was unable to attend any of the local Maundy meals or services this year.

I regularly change the image on the banner of my churches facebook page, and I try to keep them in sync with the lectionary period we are in, so I am always on the lookout for appropriate images.

Maundy is the one exception to this, a few years ago I came across the painting “In Memoriam; the Last Supper” by artist Andrew White.

In Memoriam of the Last Supper

This evocative image is painted to show the moment Christ declares to his disciples “This is my body, which is given for you”, the disciples eyes close in contemplation of this… except Judas lurking in the background.

The artist testimony is given on:






US cousins

So, our US cousins are making great strides with the diaconate:

Pro – they are now at the stage where diocese are actively encouraging churches to identify “at least two” people who may have a deaconal ministry/calling within their parish.

Con – it’s based on projects that they have been working on since literally before I was born (based on Susanne Watson Epting’s work (guess what I am current reading) on the history of the US diaconate and work begun in 1977 being the beginnings of their current renewal.)

On the plus side, if we (CofE as a national church) are normally 30 years behind behind on things, then renewal is overdue 🙂

New (church) year, new blog

So, we are about to head into the new church year.

We are in the final day, Holy week has begun.

Our year does not begin in the depth of winter as does the secular new year, but with Easter, a time of resurrection within the church of the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, and in the world for the signs of change from Winter into Spring – from a time of death and hibernation, to new life.

So, what better time to begin a new blog?

The original can be found at but I have moved it to this for reasons of hosting, and for mistakes make when the original blog was created – basically new wine in new wineskins.  I will however be moving the book reviews and quotes onto this blog as part of the intent of this blog is in showing my journey to be a deacon, both professionally (IF that ever happens) as well as in day to day life – hence the title – I aim to both be an “everyday deacon” (if there is such a thing) with the others in the Church of England and other demoninations, as well as to be a deacon day to day, whether the Church of England should chose to ordain me or not.

You may start this jouney with me at the beginning of it on this blog, or you may be reading this decades in the future when I am an old man, and hopefully deacons are better known in the contempory church and people eagerly encouraged towards it as a vocation.  Either way, I hope you will enjoy the journey, that it will bless your own, and that you will pray for me where-ever I am on the journey.