Today I discovered the Reformed Church in America's (RCA) booklet entitled "The Ministry of the Deacon" by Betty Voskuil. It offers a brief but helpful look at the biblical concept of deacon, and the working out of the concept in the history of the RCA.
Voskuil notes that when the New York church broke from its mother church in the Netherlands, it was no longer supported by the government. Consequently, funds were diverted from deacons' work with the poor, to the maintenance of the congregation. She notes that in this shift the deacons of the RCA gradually lost the heart of their original vocation.
But then come the stories of the congregations of the RCA that are recovering their deaconal calling! The stories are one-paragraph vignettes; they are intriguing.
"Because of high violence and lack of opportunity in the community, the Church of the Good News in Chicago has made a commitment to reach out to the youth of the neighborhood. The congregation sponsors a number of youth groups as well as a community music center which offers quality music education for children and adults."
And one more:
"Christ Community Church in Welland, Ontario, is involved in a ministry to women who have experienced emotional, physical, and mental abuse. In addition to having a social worker on staff, the congregation has recently purchased a home near the church to house the area-wide ministry."
Made me want to hear deacons' stories from the CRC! How about it, Deacons? Got stories?