On August 1, the EDSD News presented an article entitled “What Does It Mean to be a Deacon,” the first in a series that provides a snapshot of who a deacon is, what a deacon does, where a deacon ministers, and when does one discern a call. This week’s article provides a snapshot of the dynamic ministry of deacons and where you might find them living out their calling.
A deacon’s ministry is one of servanthood–both that of servant leadership and servant assistant. A deacon’s ministry is lived within the Church as well as outside the Church walls. We are asked to stretch ourselves further, to bring the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world back to the Church.
Two deacons that are living into their Church based ministries while stretching into less comfortable ministries are the Rev. Canon Brooks Mason and the Rev. Daniel McMillan.
The Rev. Canon Brooks Mason is a full-time staff member at St Paul’s Cathedral and has served as their deacon since 2013. Brooks coordinates liturgy and provides pastoral care to those who may walk through the door with immediate needs or in pain as well as helping those preparing for baptisms, weddings, and funerals. All active vocational deacons have a role in the church on Sundays. Often, deacons proclaim the gospel, set the table, and dismiss the people to: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Thanks be to God.
The Very Rev Penny Bridges, Dean of the Cathedral, said, “The presence of a deacon in the liturgy, oversight of the intercessions, the reading of the Gospel, and ownership of the dismissal reminds us that we are all called to service; that the church is called to serve the needs of the world; that the proclamation of the Gospel is an extraordinary privilege; and that when our worship ends our ministry begins. In his ministry of servanthood, Brooks enriches the life of the cathedral community and stands as an example of the oldest order of Christian ministry. It is no accident that in recent years most parishioners who have expressed interest in ordained ministry have articulated it as a call to the diaconate.”
The Rev Daniel McMillan is a deacon at St Andrew’s by the Sea in Pacific Beach. He serves at the altar on Sunday mornings as part of his diaconal ministry. On Tuesday nights, Daniel oversees The Hunger Supper at St Andrews, where all are welcome; those who live in the neighborhood, the marginalized, the lonely.
Daniel professes his diaconal ministry, “Jesus tells us to feed his sheep in each Gospel. I see the power of the diaconate at work in serving the food, setting tables, greeting new faces, and working side by side with the volunteers.”
The Rev Mary Lynn Coulson, Rector of St Andrews, expressed her gratitude toward the ministry done by Daniel. “Having the presence of a deacon at our weekly meal ministry has been so important. This ministry is about more than just a meal–it’s about nourishing our neighbors, and realizing that we are nourished by serving. Having Deacon Daniel’s pastoral presence has deepened our community’s understanding of that,” said Coulson. Daniel also lives into his ministry by leading book studies, taking part in Christian formation, and pastoral care.
If you are interested in learning more about the life and ministry of a deacon, please contact Archdeacon Cindy Campos at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope this will be helpful to those of you unfamiliar or less familiar with this ordained ministry.
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