Diaconate Working Party

John Armes: deacons are part of the three historic orders. In our system, a deacon remains a deacon but most become priests. Our system of recruitment is not disposed to discerning the vocations of those who feel called to a vocational diaconate.

Working group has come to the view that this matters.

SEC is part of Porvoo which has a committment to work to a common understanding of diaconia. Working group was set up to respond to Oslo Consultation.

Bishop Mark speaks of the vocations day in his diocese at which 120 people turned up. 40 came to next and then it was down to 25. Series of days were spent looking at diaconate. Currently there are still people exploring this.

John Armes – this dialogue is a response to ecumenical partners and people approaching bishops who have diaconal vocations.


  1. Catherine Meikle – for ordinary people it would be helpful to have some reference to readers so we all understand overlap and complimentarities.

  2. John Armes – we need to look at diaconate along with looking at priesthood, episcopate and readership. Readers are solidly trained lay readers. Teaching, preaching and catechising new disciples. Deacons are outward looking, Readers are doing things within congregations. If some readers feel that they are doing diaconal roles then perhaps that needs to be looked at.

  3. I think the problem is that seekers don’t necessarily know that there is such a thing as the diaconate. They never see it, do they, unless they know Mother Anne? And often I meet people who I think would be wonderful deacons but they go forward for the priesthood, get turned down, and there seems to have been no mention of the diaconate. (Then invariable they get shunted into training for Lay Readership like that is the only alternative for those rejected.) I reckon we need to do something about this but not sure what.

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