Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Once a Deacon...

... always a deacon.

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
- Acts 6:1-6

Today is my seventh anniversary of having been placed into the order of deacons at my installation as a vicar at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, SC by the Rev. Carl Voges.

It was a wonderful experience to have been consecrated to the diaconate by (and learn the art of pastoral care from) Pastor Voges, to wear the diagonal stole and the dalmatic in serving the saints at Holy Trinity, and to live in the capital of the Palmetto State. Pictures do not do the city and congregation justice, not even these from 2003 and 2004.

There have been relatively few of us in the LCMS who have been formally consecrated to the order of deacon. That is a shame. But there is a lot of interest in some sort of revival of the diaconate - and I'm gratified by that.

As a postscript, I wish to congratulate my friend Deacon Matthew Akers, Ph.D. of Akron, Ohio (a member of St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church) on his ordination to the diaconate on July 25 (the Feast of St. James).


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I really think a lot of angst and confusion would be done away with if we simply got rid of the term "Vicar" and made Vicars deacons instead.

As a vicar, I was no one's substitute - I was a man training in the parish for the office of Bishop.

Past Elder said...

It seems some parishes have lay deacons, whose responsibility is in the physical type of needs. I have been to one which calls its elders deacons. Then there is deacon in the sense you mean.

Well, in the parish of which I sm formally a member, but do not attend, the elders are called Ministry Action Team (MAT).

Oy. Hell of a deal for a past elder.

However, there is merit in Pastor Brown's suggestion. Vicar and vicarious have the same root and are related -- a representative, a substitute.

I think there would be way less confusion about using the term in the sense of the office of deacon than the confusion about elder as we have them and the totally different meaning of the term in the NT.

Of course, I'm not that into dalmatics, as you may have guessed. Dalmatians yes, dalmatics, not so much. It's the office, not the period costume, that counts.