Friday, November 10, 2017

Deacon Rev Linda Vogel

Deacon Rev. Linda Vogel (United Methodist Church) died this week after contracting cancer. Victoria Rebeck spoke of her influential and prophetic voice in Christian discipleship formation and asked for prayers for her husband, Dwight Vogel, and others who grieve the loss of her physical presence with us.

Linda and Dwight have contributed a great deal to the understanding of the role of Deacons and Elders in the United Methodist Church. This paper is one of their very helpful contributions on 'Deacons as Sacraments of the Table' in the context of UMC, but which has relevance to many other church traditions. From afar, I have valued Linda's insightful reflections on diaconal ministry.

Deacons as Sacraments of the Table
Dwight W. and Linda J. Vogel
The role of the deacon in the United Methodist Church today is related to three tables that are central to the experience of the New Testament church: the table of service, the table of justice, and the table of grace. All three tables are sacramental in nature and deacons are themselves sacraments of service, justice and grace.

Fijian Methodists call for prayers for COP23

Climate change is impacting significantly on the island nations in the Pacific. Fiji has taken on the role of Presidency of the Conference of Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and has asked for prayers. 

Fijian Methodists call for prayers for COP23 (source: WCC)

As the world convenes in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Methodist Church in Fiji issued a statement calling for Methodists around the world to join in prayer for the country’s leadership and for the talanoa process of negotiations which will take place over the next two weeks.

Talanoa, meaning storytelling and dialogue, is a continuing process of building relationships and understanding and presenting outcomes to date. At COP23, this methodology is being used to address Fiji’s calls for climate justice.

The statement released on 2 November appeals for prayers “for States to take bold action to rapidly reduce emissions, in line with the 1.5°C goal, for an effective facilitative dialogue that could speed the advance to low-carbon economies and for increased and innovative public and private finance to enable achievement of the 1.5C target”.

Expressing support to the government of Fiji as the country assumes the presidency of the COP, the statement also calls upon the nations of the world to stand with Fiji as it amplifies the voices of vulnerable Pacific small island states and coastal cities and to endorse the COP23 Multifaith Charter prepared by the faith communities of Fiji in partnership with the COP23 Presidency Secretariat.

“As the nations…gather for COP23 under the presidency of Fiji, it is our common hope and constant prayer, as people of faith, that the reflections and discernment and life- affirming responses of such spirituality remain as critically important as scientific and political conversations in the decision-making processes during COP23”.

The Methodist Church in Fiji is represented at COP23 by Rev. James Bhagwan, who has been involved in faith and climate change work for the last decade and is part of the World Council of Churches delegation.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Order of Diaconal Ministries of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

The Order of Diaconal Ministries of The Presbyterian Church in Canada Bi-annual Council met at Crieff Hills Conference Centre, Ontario in early October.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development

DIAKONIA World Federation has a particular ecumenical relationship with the World Council of Churches. Although 'diakonia' terminology in the WCC refers primarily to what might in other settings be referred to as 'relief and development', nevertheless it is interesting to engage with, and be informed by, the discussion.
The primary objective of the ecumenical strategic forum on diakonia and sustainable development is to strengthen ecumenical collaboration on diakonia and development; stimulate strategies for leveraging national impact; and provide a road map for the ecumenical accompaniment of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The ecumenical strategic forum will gather around 75 participants from churches, councils, communions and specialized ministries, involving national, regional and global ecumenical actors.
The forum, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC), will take place from 3 to 6 October 2017 at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kaiserswerth General Conference - Berlin

The Secretary General of the Kaiserswerther Verband, of the Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz (Kaiserswerth General Conference), Dr Christine-Ruth Müller, has retired. She formally concluded her role on 1st September 2017, after 11 years in the role.

Dr Christine-Ruth Müller in 2009
Dr. Christine-Ruth Müller joined the Kaiserswerther Verband (Kaiserswerth Association) as Secretary General at the beginning of 2007, and her successes have included the restructuring of the association and the development of Kaiserswerther Verband as a nationwide representation of Diaconia in the form of Diaconal Community.

The Kaiserswerther Verband represents diaconal work in the evangelical church, bringing together more than 100 deaconess motherhouses, diaconal communities and organisations in Germany. It is part of the international Kaiserswerth General Conference.

Dr. Christine-Ruth Müller will be succeeded by long-time rector of the Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen, Christa Schrauf. Pastor Christa Schrauf was the Rector and Chief Executive Officer of the Evangelical Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen from 2008 to 2016, the largest diaconal employer in Austria with more than 3500 employees. Since 2013, she has also been President of Kaiserswerth General Conference, and since 2014 has been a member of the German Network “Women in Leadership in Church and Diakonia”.
Pastor Christa Schrauf, new Secretary General
On September 27th at 2 pm, Kaiserswerth General Conference celebrates the work of Dr Christine-Ruth Müller, as part of a feast day service in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. President of Diakonie Deutschland Ulrich Lilie will conduct a handover ceremony during the service to wish farewell to Christine-Ruth Müller and to welcome the incoming Secretary General Christa Schrauf into her new role.

Rev Marianne Uri Øverland from Norway, Regional President of the DIAKONIA-DRAE Region, will bring greetings on behalf of DIAKONIA World. Deaconesses Ulrike Kellner and Traude Leitenberger will also be in attendance.

Friday, September 1, 2017

50th anniversary of consecration - Edie Eickemeyer and Louise Williams

Congratulations to Deaconess Edie Eickemeyer and Deaconess Louise Williams, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their consecration as Deaconesses. That's a lot of combined experience and a great deal of wisdom! Blessings to you both.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Barbara Urquhart DCS retirement

News from the Diaconate of the Church of Scotland:
The congregation of New Laigh Kirk in Kilmarnock said farewell to Barbara Urquhart DCS, who retired as the church’s pastoral assistant on June 25, 2017.
Barbara, who has been registered blind since she was nine years old, was commissioned as a Deaconess in September 1986 in Dundee. She has worked in Christian Education and hospital chaplaincy as well as pastoral care, and been member of several committees at both local and national church level. She was President of the Diaconate Council from 2007-2010.
The minister of New Laigh, the Rev David Cameron, said in his address: “In your diaconate ministry you have borne both the name of Jesus and also his spirit.”
Barbara is pictured with her husband, the Rev John Urquhart, children Eileigh and John, and David Cameron.
Barbara Urquhart DCS with family, and Rev David Caermon