Diakonia Remixed: Office of the Deacon Task Force has completed its preliminary report. They are now looking for feedback from as many sources as possible (before June 30th). Are you curious what it says? You can view the whole report online at the Diakonia Remixed website. If you follow that link you'll find the report outline and you can click and view the various parts of the report.
The Task Force would particularly like to have input about the following areas:
- Guiding principles
- Church Order articles
- Church Order supplements
- Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons
As I was reading over the changes, I was particularly appreciative of the report's tone. Throughout the Church Order Articles there is an echo of the theme "equipping people to build up the church", which I believe is a positive way of reminding us that we are the church, we are all to be participating in the furthering of God's kingdom and we need to be taught how.
There has also been a change to a number of the Articles that create the space for elders and deacons to function as a team, and hold each other accountable. One example is Article 35b, where church order is changed so that the consistory also reports to council on its business. This one in particular struck a chord with me, as when I was in council it seemed odd that the deacons would submit a regular update on the work they had done and were doing, while the elders would not. In the deacon's report names were not included, and I wouldn't expect the elders to breach confidentiality, however, I think it is helpful for the deacons to have a sense of what is going on with the membership of the community, as they are also leaders in the congregation. All of this builds a cohesive team, serving together, able to pray for each other and supporting one another.
Another interesting change is found in Article 45. This Article looks at sending delegates to Synod. Diakonia Remixed is proposing that we change from the current 2 ministers and 2 elders from each Classis to 1 minister, 1 elder and 1 deacon. They also considered 4 delegates made up of 2 ministers, 1 elder and 1 deacon, as well as 6 delegates made up of 2 ministers, 2 elders and 2 deacons. (They encourage feedback on this area in particular!) I think having regular deacon delegates to Synod would be a wonderful addition to the conversations and decisions that are made.
The report gives us a lot to think and talk about! Take some time in the coming weeks to prayerfully consider the role of the deacon. Delve into Scripture, discuss these ideas with those around you, ask questions and listen. Don't forget to share your thoughts or concerns with the Task Force!
You can submit feedback by commenting below, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your thoughts about the preliminary report?