A new edition (November, 2017) of The Deacon in the Worshiping Community written Deacon Canon Michael Jackson has been posted. It includes further information on the historical role of women in the diaconate and ecumenical implications. This edition is dedicated by the author to the late Bishop Duncan Wallace, who commissioned the original study in 1997 and was, said Canon Jackson, a strong advocate for the order of deacons.
Deacons are, with bishops and priests, one of the historic three orders of ordained ministers, going back to the first centuries of the Christian Church. The diaconate is primarily a ministry of service. Deacons assist priests in their parishes, enable lay ministry, and have specific roles in liturgies. During the medieval period, the diaconate became a period of preparation for the priesthood and to this day those to be ordained priests spend a year or a few months in what is called the “transitional” diaconate. However, since the late twentieth century the Church has restored the “vocational” diaconate as a permanent form of ordained ministry, usually “non-stipendiary,” that is, for men and women who earn their living outside the Church. The Diocese of Qu’Appelle has been ordaining vocational deacons since the 1970s. By 2014, there were seven deacons, in Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Nokomis and in three parishes in Regina (St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Luke, and St. Philip).
Bishop Commends Study on the Diaconate
Bishop Rob Hardwick has commended a study of the order of deacons by Deacon Michael Jackson, recently revised for the Diocese of Qu’Appelle website.
“I heartily recommend this publication to all deacons, to those discerning a call to ordained ministry, and to every congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada,” said the Bishop. “The ‘distinctive diaconate’ is a unique calling and I commend this publication for further study that all would be better informed about this ordered ministry.
“This publication, and indeed the example set by its author, Deacon Canon Michael Jackson, is a call to the Church to correct the prevailing assumption that the diaconate is merely a transitional year before priesting or an apprenticeship for the priesthood; or that it is only priesthood that really matters.”