Most everyone in the San Diego area knows the Marine Corps motto: “Semper Fi,” always faithful. Some know the Coast Guard motto: “Semper Paratus,” always prepared. From my experience as a deacon, I suggest that the motto for the diaconate should be: “Semper Gumbi,” always flexible.
What I thought I would do as a deacon and what I have been called to do over the past 21 years have required flexibility. I have been fortunate in my secular career and vocation as a deacon in the Episcopal Church to have seldom been bored, to have always been in a learning mode, and to have felt that what I was called to do was for the public benefit.
In the discernment process, I was asked to what ministry I felt called. It was clear that I did not want to become a priest or to pastor a flock.
After 38 years of public service in five California cities, I developed skills in and an understanding of California land use regulations. I also had experience in facilities construction, maintenance, and operation.
I was already on the Diocesan Property Committee; I thought that I would use my secular skills and experience to aid the Diocese in its relationship with local government and with the operation and management of its facilities.
Well, God has a sense of humor.
For one-year field placement before and two years after ordination, I was assigned to Good Samaritan Episcopal Church. Fr. Wayne Sanders, Rector, believed in on-job-training and interfaith ministry. If it was possible for an activity to be assigned to a deacon, it was. St. Anthony Antiochian parish and the Newman Center Roman Catholic community of UCSD shared the campus. Where possible, we shared worship and other ministries. I learned that God works in many ways.
In 2003 I was assigned to St. Peter’s, Del Mar. Shortly thereafter, the parish administrator retired, and I became “the interim parish administrator” for three years. In 2010 the property of St. Anne’s, Oceanside, was returned to the Diocese, and I was assigned to administer that parish. These administrative assignments were far from boring. They were challenging and required me to learn more than I ever wanted to know about parochial reports. I learned to appreciate rectors and administrators.
During 2012 I was fortunate to be at the right place, at the right time, and was able to help in starting the Showers of Blessing ministry. When I turned the leadership of this ministry over to lay and ordained persons with a passion for service, Showers of Blessing flourished as an interfaith ministry.
Deacons serve in many ways, but always “directly under” their bishop. Only Bishop James Mathes, and the Holy Spirit, know why he appointed me Archdeacon in April 2016. I was in a constant learning mode for three years as Archdeacon. I pray that I was able to promote the diaconate and encourage some to consider a call to ordination.
As a member of the Diocesan Property Committee and Archdeacon, I am one of the few who can claim to have been to every parish in the Diocese, sometimes crawling under the foundation and/or up on the roof. When in public service, I carefully separated my faith from my job. As a deacon, I fill a call to “a special ministry of servanthood” in the name of Jesus Christ. As a deacon, I continue to serve “all the people” while spreading the Gospel. Never bored, always learning and serving God’s creation.
It is no secret that we are becoming more desensitized to advertising. These days we automatically tune out most of the ads we see–digital ads get lost in social media noise, and flyers get tossed into the junk mail pile or the trash. So, how do we tell people about the fantastic events at our […]
Most everyone in the San Diego area knows the Marine Corps motto: “Semper Fi,” always faithful. Some know the Coast Guard motto: “Semper Paratus,” always prepared. From my experience as a deacon, I suggest that the motto for the diaconate should be: “Semper Gumbi,” always flexible. What I thought I would do as a deacon […]
Though the subtitle is tongue in cheek, one of the concepts we learn in Cursillo to help maintain our spiritual life in Christ is summed up in those three words: Piety, Study, and Action. The simple activity of reading the Bible daily to another person has strengthened me in those three disciplines. It has impacted […]