Saturday, August 13, 2016

New 'Worship and Service roster' in ELCA

Deaconess Louise Williams
preaching at ELCA Churchwide Assembly, August 2016
A recommendations on ‘One Roster of Word and Service’ was presented to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. In essence, the Assembly was asked to consider a recommendation to transition the three current rosters of Word and Service – Associate in Ministry, Deaconess, and Diaconal Minister – into one, new, unified roster of Word and Service, to be called Deacon. This recommendation has been many years in the making, and Louise Williams (past-President, DIAKONIA World Federation) has served on the ELCA task forces and teams that crafted it. 
Louise reports: 'The great news is that the ‘Word and Service roster’ passed overwhelmingly at the Assembly. Deaconesses, associates in ministry and diaconal ministers received a rousing ovation'.

(You can watch a video of the voting process for this recommendation here, starting at 17.50. I love the voting machines - very innovative)

(You can watch a video of Louise Williams' preaching at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly here). 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

RIP, Ormonde Plater, author of Many Servants

[The Association for Episcopal Deacons] The Association for Episcopal Deacons is saddened by the loss of Archdeacon Ormonde Plater, Diocese of Louisiana, to the worldwide diaconal community. Ormonde died aged 82 on Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, after a long illness.

Ormonde Plater, Sept 6 1933-August 6, 2016
He devoted much of his life to the church and was a mentor to many during his time as deacon. IT would be hard to overestimate Ormonde’s contribution to the development of the Episcopal Church’s restoration of the distinctive diaconate in ordained ministry, and his theological leadership extended around the globe.  His book Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons, provided a historical overview of the Episcopal diaconate and a rationale for the renewal of the order.  He also authored The Deacon in the Liturgy and Intercession, as well as other volumes which continue to play an essential role in the education and formation of deacons in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Ormonde’s leadership extended to the creation of the organizational infrastructure needed for the renewed diaconate to prosper, as well.  He was an early member of AED’s predecessor organization, the North American Association for the Diaconate, and he served faithfully on our board and as our president.  In his last appearance at one of AED’s assemblies, he provided a sage and comprehensive overview of the history and development of the Episcopal Church’s diaconal movement.  An early adopter of internet technologies, for over 20 years he has hosted the anglodeacons and archdeacons Yahoo groups, a modality of communications which has enabled deacons to communicate around the world and vastly expand their ability to collaborate in both diaconal action and in reflection on the renewed order.
Ormonde was ordained a deacon in 1971 at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans and retired in 2007. Over the years he served the Episcopal Church in parish, diocesan, prison and hospital ministries.
We know he rests in peace and are certain he has risen in glory.  Well done, good and faithful servant!

Rev Judy Sanderson ordained as a Deacon

Rev Judy Sanderson was ordained as a deacon and inducted into St Stephens Applecross Uniting Church on Sunday 7 August.

Rev Judy Sanderson
After a welcome to (Aboriginal) country from Rev Sam Dinah, minister with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC), Rev Bev Fabb, deacon and Interim Director of Education and Formation, preached on Micah 6:6-8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Bev reminded those gathered that to be called into the ministry of a deacon, is to be called into ministry with the outsider, the broken, the hurting, poor, desperate and rejected. “Deacons are called to notice desperate people reaching out to touch them,” Bev said. “Faith is also found outside of the religious community.”
Bev explained that deacons are called to minister outside of the church to discover people of faith in unexpected places. She also said that Fresh Expressions, and new ways of being church, echo the calling of diaconate ministry.
Judy responded, saying she is humbled to serve, and is excited to journey with St Stephens Applecross Uniting Church. She then led the congregation in a greeting from her African American heritage, “The greeting “God is good” is responded to with “all the time”, then together “all the time, God is good.”
Members of the congregation presented symbols of ministry during Judy’s induction into St Stephens Applecross Uniting Church. Judy then celebrated her ordination by leading the congregation in communion.

Rev Sam Dinah - welcome to country

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

new Mother Centre in Mokpo, South Korea

On the 1st May 2016, coinciding with the 36th anniversary of the Korean Diakonia Sisterhood, the new Mother Centre in Mokpo was officially opened. The mother centre had been moved from Cheonan to Mokpo in June 2015. After a year’s preparation, all was finally ready to open the Mother Centre in Mokpo. The new centre is located near the sea and mountains providing a place of healing and prayer for the public as well as a home for the members of our Sisterhood. About 170 friends from Korea and abroad attended this occasion to share in celebration.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Vale, Moyra McCallum

Aberdeen Deaconess Moyra McCallum, 80, died on July 15, after suffering a pulmonary embolism. A deaconess in the Church of Scotland for more than half a century and a stalwart member of Woodside Parish Church, she also had a wealth of academic experience under her belt. Among her lengthy list of qualifications and appointments were an MA degree from the University of Aberdeen, a four-year spell teaching at St Margaret’s School for Girls in the Granite City and a first-class honours degree from St Mary’s College, St Andrews, in Old Testament – one of her great passions in life. She also lectured in biblical studies at Aberdeen University, lectured at St Colm’s College, Edinburgh, in the same subject, was president of the Diaconate Council and was junior chaplain to the Rt Rev Robert Davidson.
She never married or had children but was close to both her mother and father’s sides of the families as well as having many friends, including Elspeth McPheat, who lead a tribute on behalf of those closest to her. She said: “Moyra was a friend to so many people over the years. She was good at keeping contact whether they were from school, church or further afield. She never failed to be interested in what folk were doing to make you feel that you were special to her. Moyra made friends easily and she had the knack of being able to relate to all ages and so became Auntie Moyra to many of her friends’ children or their friends’ children. The shock and grief will pass but all that she meant to me and so many others will remain.” 

Colin McAlister, session clerk at Woodside Parish Church, said: “Moyra loved this church and every person in it with every fibre of her being and we loved her back in return. “We cannot begin to fathom how life in this place will be without her. One limb has been removed from the body. Yet, life will go on, we will continue to fight the good fight of faith, as she would want us to.”
Jane Martin, secretary to the Diaconate Council, said: “Moyra may have gone from our midst but her legacy lives on in those who were privileged to know and share life with her.”
Rev. Nancy Allison, a former colleague of Moyra’s at St Colm’s, spoke about her contribution to the missionaries’ college, where she worked until it closed. She said: “In many ways Moyra was our conscience – making us go deeper into everyday problems, insisting that we keep our eyes fixed on the mission and parish work for which our students were preparing, and never glossing over factions within the community. Moyra believed in the all-embracing love of Christ and knew that our true task at St Colm’s was to incarnate that same love in all its transforming power.”
Vale, Moyra McCallum, good and faithful servant of the Lord. 
Source: Aberdeen Press
The Church of Scotland Diaconate added: It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Moyra MacCallum. Moyra nurtured and influenced generations of Deacons and Deaconess both within the Church of Scotland and the wider church. With her gentle humour, her intellect and deep faith, Moyra supported many leaders within the Church and had an amazing gift of seeing people's gifts and talents, often before the individual recognised those gifts in themselves.
We give thanks to God for all Moyra gave to the service of the Church and the diaconate and the many lives she touched. Our prayers are with Moyra's family and all those who were close to her and remember with tenderness that she is now with her Saviour and hearing the words - welcome Moyra my good and faithful servant.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Prayers for peace in a time of violence

The past month has seen violent attacks occur in locations across the world, many of which have been tied to the Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS or Daesh). 
The most recent act of violence was inflicted on people in the heart of the busy Karrada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, on the night of Saturday 2 July. A bomb-laden truck entered the neighbourhood and ploughed into a building containing a gym, coffee shop and stores. At least 125 people died in the attack, including 25 children. 
Other recent attacks the Islamic State has recently claimed include a shooting at a cafĂ© in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and on security targets in Yemen. Other violent events in TurkeyJordannorthern Lebanon, the United States and France have also been tied to IS, but have not been claimed by them.
In the face of the terrible violence we continue to see throughout our world – in recent days, in Orlando, USA; Istanbul, Turkey; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Baghdad, Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Jordan; Lebanon; Israel, and Palestine – we cry out with the Psalmist, how long? How long will this cycle of violence continue?
We long for a world of peace with justice, reconciliation and hope. A world where our relationships are built on love, compassion, understanding, and nonviolent resolutions of our conflict.
Most people want to live at peace with their neighbours.
Desmond Tutu, a world leader in advocating for justice and peace, highlights that the powers for good in our world – those who respect each other and desire to live at peace with one another – are greater than those people who would draw us into a spiral of violence and hatred.
“I have heard and seen many examples of the cruelty that we are able to visit on one another during my time… I have also seen incredible forgiveness and compassion… Yes, each of us has the capacity for great evil… But for every act of evil there are a dozen acts of goodness in our world that go unnoticed,” Desmond Tutu writes in his book, Believe.
“It is only because we believe that people should be good that we despair when they are not. Indeed, if people condoned the evil, we would be justified in losing hope. But most of the world does not. We know that we are meant for better.” 
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
We are following in the footsteps of Jesus whenever we seek to make peace: when we live nonviolently in our personal relationships, and when we actively participate in bringing reconciliation in our local communities; where we seek peaceful and nonviolent solutions to disagreements, and where we refuse to demonise and dehumanise others who are different to ourselves.
Jesus says to us – peacemakers – you are God’s children. 
We pray for peace:
Christ Jesus, 
We pray for peace and courage to resist all those forces that would lead us to hatred and violence. 
We pray for comfort for those who have lost family and friends in the recent killings. 
We pray for all those whose lives have been changed by the trauma of the attacks, and the disruption of their daily lives. 
We pray that we will see and respond to others through your eyes – as people of worth, created in God’s image and deeply loved.
May we be peacemakers with you, bringing hope and light to our world.
In your name, we pray. Amen.
(sourced from reflections by the Uniting Church (South Australia) Moderator Dr Deidre Palmer)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DIAKONIA Executive

The DIAKONIA Executive will be meeting at the Reuilly Deaconess Community in Versailles from Saturday July 2nd to Thursday July 7th. Please pray for the Executive as they meet, and as they plan for Assembly 2017 in Chicago.
Rev Dr Alison McRae is not able to be at the Executive as she is having knee surgery. Deaconess Emma Cantor, who was unable to attend the meeting in Chicago in 2015, will represent DAP at the upcoming meeting.
Lisa Polito will be providing regular updates from our meeting on the DIAKONIA Facebook page.

DIAKONIA Executive, 2013-2017