Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Deacons visited our seminary tonight.
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa recognises two ordained ministries: Presbyters and Deacons. The Presbyters are set aside for word and sacrament, while the Deacons are set aside for word and service. This has not always been the case. Originally the Order of Deaconesses was created to deal with women who had experienced a call by God to full-time Christian service in the Church. Because the Methodist Church of my grandparents did not recognise the ordination of women, the Order of Deaconesses became a safe place to channel any God-inspired urge to ministry by women. With time the Methodist Church has discovered that the irresistable call of God on the lives of women to the ministry of Presbyter has only grown stronger. We have therefore come to recognise the two orders of ministry - presbyter and deacon - have nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with the call of God into different forms of ordained ministry. While we are a seminary for anyone who seeks Christian vocational formation, we are mostly populated by those exploring a call to become presbyters.
Tonight we heard testimonies of the work done by the deacons and celebrated their calling with shared worship and Holy Communion.
A helpful theological reflection on Deacons by my friend Dion Forster can be found at Deacons . There is also a response to his document.
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