A New Year
We have now fully entered a new year. First liturgically, with Advent 1, and now the Gregorian calendar had turned to read 2020.
This year promises to be a busy one here at St. Thomas - work will soon begin on much-needed restoration work to our old 1858 structure. Time and water have taken their toll. Following a successful fundraising effort, and generous assistance from the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, financing is now in place to bring this building back to its former glory.
We will be continuing our monthly "Sunday Study" beginning January 12th at 2:00 at my home (65 Misty Hill Cove in Oakland), and will continue the 2nd Sunday of each month. This year's study is The Way of Love, a church-wide initiative to follow Jesus by exploring and using the seven practices of Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest.
There is no text or other materials to purchase for this course. Simply bring yourself with an open heart and mind. A meal will be provided.
We hope you will join us - at Church on Sunday mornings at 9:00, for fellowship afterwards, and for study, as we begin our annual travels with Christ through his earthly life, ministry, death, and resurrection,
So, what exactly is a Deacon?
There are three ordained ministries in the Episcopal Church - Bishops, Priests and Deacons. All three require rigorous and lengthy periods of discernment and formation prior to ordination. Deacons may be identified by their stoles - which are worn over the left shoulder. There are two types of deacons. The first is a Transitional Deacon - this is a person who is on the track to be ordained a priest after serving a period of time as a deacon. The second is a Vocational Deacon - sometimes known as a Permanent or Perpetual Deacon. This is a person who has been discerned and formed to the specific ministry of a deacon - the "diaconate". I am a Vocational Deacon. Vocational Deacons are called and ordained to a ministry of service. They are especially charged with interpreting and communicating the needs of the world to the Church. Deacons strive to follow Christ's example of service to the needy, the sick, the hungry, and those on the margins. Vocational Deacons may be found in a variety of ministries, including feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners, serving as chaplains in hospitals, and working within our faith communities. Deacons also perform liturgical duties. The deacon always proclaims the Gospel and issues the dismissal at the close of services. They assist bishops and priests in administering the sacraments, and take communion to those who are unable to attend services. Deacons may officiate with the bishop's authorization when a priest is not available. Deacons may not consecrate the communion elements, offer absolution from sins, or issue corporate blessings. Vocational Deacons perform their duties under the direction of the diocesan bishop.