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Faith Ministry Stories

How will we know when we have enough deacons?

Posted by Deacon Nina Joygaard on

How will we know when we have enough deacons?
When all the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable are met.
When to gather the gifts of the church
                and take them to the world –
and to gather needs of the world
                and bring them to the church –
has become a habit.
When Deacons, going back and forth,
                have worn down the boundary lines
that we use to keep church and world separated.
When Deacons, leading the baptized in and out,
                have beaten a path between the altar and the gutter
                so that everyone will see the link between
                the Blood in our chalices and the blood in our streets.
When all people respond to the challenge to live,
                not in love of power but in the power of love…
Poem by the Ven. Irma Wyman, 1928-2015, Archdeacon in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota from 1998-2008

Deacons were set apart in the Bible, early in the book of Acts. If you read Acts 6 – you’ll learn that the first deacons were selected to care for the Greek-speaking widows.  That is the outsider’s outsider - the outcast of the foreigners. Deacons were an integral part of the early church and have been important along the full history of Christianity.  

The word ‘deacon’ itself comes from the Greek word for service, diakonos.  Deacons are called to service in the church and in the world – and to traverse those two spheres with grace. 

You need not be considering seminary and becoming an ELCA Deacon to live out this call to diakonia (service).  As disciples of Jesus, we are called to serve the outsiders.  We are called to radically welcome others into our community - to reach out to the foreigners and widows and those on the edges of society.  As Christians, we are called to offer the open arms and the gentle mercy of the Savior that we have experienced. 

May you embrace the call to live in the power of love and to share God’s loving kindness in the world.



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