Greetings on behalf of The Office of Deacon Task Force or Diakonia Remixed for short.
In her blog post, Melissa Van Dyk mentioned the results of the Diakonia Remixed survey and raised some questions concerning terms for deacons. The task force would like to take the opportunity in this blog post to preview some of our work and hear your feedback on the issue regarding terms for deacons.
Church Order Article 25a states:
“The elders and deacons shall serve for a limited time as designated by the council. As a rule a specified number of them shall retire from office each year. The retiring officebearers shall be succeeded by others unless the circumstances and the profit of the church make immediate eligibility for reelection advisable. Elders and deacons who are thus reelected shall be reinstalled.”
Please note that the following is allowed under the current Church Order:
- Terms of a limited time are defined, but nowhere is the length of term defined
- Yearly turnover is noted as the rule, but exceptions are provided
- Eligibility for reelection is provided
As Henry DeMoor comments in his Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary on this article, “the Church Order provides far more room in these matters than the local rules most of us have adopted as our own.” (p. 138)
The following rewording of Article 25a is being considered by Diakonia Remixed:
“The elders and deacons shall serve for a length of term appropriate for both continuity and succession of ministry leadership, accountability for ministry outcomes and the regular infusion and flourishing of gifts as the Spirit endows each generation."
Going back to Henry DeMoor's commentary, “[a]t the heart of our limited tenure provision is not the detail but the principle that the congregation must remain meaningfully empowered to choose its officebearers.”
Does this draft change provide for that empowerment?
We'll be working on this and other Church Order changes in the coming months for our report to Synod 2013. Further discussion and feedback are welcome. Please post your comments below or e-mail the task force at [email protected].