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February 25, 2018: Report from the Road to the Diaconate

by Linda Mahler

Throughout my life, I have served others through my work with people with disabilities. Since I became a Christian six years ago, however, I have felt a strong desire to do more. The question was, how?

Then I met three people who were in formation to become deacons in the Episcopal Church. I learned that deacons exercise a special ministry of servanthood. They are a link between the Church and the world, identifying the needs and concerns of the community and helping the church discern how to respond. The more I learned, the more I felt I wanted to do that.

For many years in our diocese, there was no program for, and little emphasis on, ordaining and placing “vocational” deacons (so-called to differentiate them from priests-in-training, who are ordained as “transitional” deacons before being ordained as priests). Now, under the leadership of our bishop, the diocese has developed a rigorous process to train people for this special role that complements the work of priests and congregations. Here at All Souls, we recently welcomed Lesley Krauland, who is interning with us for the next several months as the final phase in her own training for the diaconate.

The first steps were six months of parish discernment, supported by a small committee of fellow parishioners who helped me clarify and affirm a mutual sense of call. The vestry concurring, I then proceeded through a diocesan process and, ultimately, was invited into a three-year formation process.

I am now a “Postulant for Holy Orders,” taking online academic courses in subjects like the Old Testament, New Testament, and Systematic Theology. Next year, I will attend “deacon school" locally, which will teach me the practical aspects of being a deacon. The final step will be a six-month placement at another church. If all goes according to plan, I will be ordained in 2020, and be assigned by our bishop to serve at a church in the diocese.

I am saddened at the thought of leaving All Souls when I become a deacon, but I believe it is part of what God is asking of me and that with God’s help I will succeed. I am grateful for the support All Souls is giving me as I pursue my calling. 

Last Published: February 22, 2018 11:20 AM
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