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Permanent Deacon

The distinctive role of the deacon has become redefined as a result of recent  research into the meaning of diakonia. It concerns being a spokesperson or go-between or ambassador who is given a commission to act on behalf of someone in authority. ‘The deacon is a person on a mission, a messenger or ambassador, making connections, building bridges, faithfully delivering his or her mandate’. (For Such a Time as This pp.36).  The special role of deacon is therefore ‘to make connections and build bridges  between the distinctive life of …the Body of Christ and the needs of the world’. The help to equip the people of God for the mission in the world. ‘They are a major missing link in the Church’s ministry and mission’. (p.52)  Deacons are involved, like other clergy, in bringing the values of the gospel to the worlds of the arts, education, community development and so on.  They  have pastoral, liturgical and educational functions.  In their pastoral work they may specialise in evangelism or ministry to the unchurched.  IN their liturgical role, deacons help to ensure that the mission of the church is embedded in the church’s worship.  In their educational role, they are authorised to teach and to preach but they may also specialise in, for example, exercising a training and teaching role within the diocese, archdeaconry or cathedral or, again, represent the church’s concerns in areas of community action, the voluntary sector, health service or urban regeneration.  Deacons are ordained to a representative ministry and to working with those who have official oversight, though they are not themselves ordained to a ministry of oversight, in the sense of having ultimate responsibility for the cure of souls in a parish.

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