Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Why a diaconate?

  • Jesus came among us not to be served, but to serve
  • The church strives to be the Body of Christ in the world
  • A diaconate can help to remind, inspire, organize and lead the church to renew its commitment to servant ministry.

"The diaconate" is a group of rostered synodical deacons. They visit the sick; teach Bible study, confirmation and Sunday School; manage food pantries; and support the many ministries of their congregations.

How does someone become a rostered synodical deacon? The first step is to complete an approved educational program. The diakonia program has been accepted as this first step. (Important note: graduating from diakonia does not automatically make someone a synodical deacon.) Candidates apply to the diaconate and serve an internship of approximately 18 months under the direction of their pastoral supervisor and the Diaconate Council. At the end of this process, approved candidates are "set apart" as synodical deacons in a special liturgy.

Synodical deacons are called by their congregations for a specific ministry and typically work unpaid. When assisting at worship, synodical deacons wear special stoles diagonally across their bodies. Synodical deacons have voice but not vote at Synod Assembly, report to the bishop annually, and gather regularly to offer support to one another. In all cases, deacons follow in the footsteps of the servant ministry of the dying and rising Christ.

For more information, contact Synod Deacon John Malone and Nancy Casalino-Malone, co-chairs of the Synod Diaconate Council, at mnysdiaconate@aol.com.


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