I was asked by Enid Corbett, the diocesan ACW’s president, to arrange a fun day for the ACW and any other ladies, or gentlemen, who would like to attend. After all, we had been through COVID-19 restrictions and a fun day was due. And what an opportunity a fun day would be to introduce someone to church!
St. Paul, Minden hosted the event on Oct. 22. It was to be a day with no business or other reports. Don’t we all love sitting through the business reports, which always seem to come after a big lunch!
A list of deacons in the eastern part of the diocese was made available, and invitations were extended. I understand the ACW will host another event for the western part of the diocese at a later date.
I was asked to pick the theme for the day and decided that a day to honour deacons would be appropriate, as their ministries are crucial to the Church. Deacons have a long history in the Church. Diaconal ministry is vital to building ministry, mission, congregational life and communities.
The importance and value of diaconal ministry for the Church’s growth, mission, outreach and spiritual health are not always understood or recognized. The Deacon’s Day on Oct. 22 was planned to bring more awareness of the importance of being called to the diaconate and the ministries born through such service.
The day began with a service that included gospel music. There was a presentation on the role of deacons in the Church and the importance of a deacon’s ministry in being a bridge from the church to the community, or the community to the church.
After lunch, each of the five attending deacons described their ministries in their churches. We heard from the Rev. Suzanne McMillian of All Saints, Peterborough, the Rev. Shiela Archer of St. Peter, Cobourg, the Rev. Martha Waind of the Parish of Minden, Kinmount, Maple Lake, the Rev. Marilyn Metcalfe of St. George, Pickering and the Rev. Barbara Russell of St. George, Grafton. It was exciting and enlightening to learn of the unique ministries born from the needs of the communities – ministries that extend from fitness classes to walking the labyrinth, thrift shops and places of gathering.
After the presentations, we engaged in an activity called “Dress the Deacon.” Each person had cut-outs (think paper dolls) with clergy shirts, dalmatic, stole, skirt or trousers, and alb. Then everyone put on a blindfold. Seeing everyone with a mask, then a blindfold, was quite a sight. It would be sufficient to say there was lots of laughter as folks tried to dress the deacon blindfolded! I am not sure how comfortable a deacon would be wearing a clergy shirt over a dalmatic, or a stole under all the robes, or process with one’s robes on inside out, but it was fun. We had another game and then closing prayers and music.
Several people said afterwards that they learned much about the diaconate that they were not aware of.
Deacons have a long history in the formation of the Church and are essential to the growth of the Kingdom. They are a mainstay of the Church and its ministry, particularly in multipoint rural parishes. Thank you to all the deacons who work hard and diligently, often under stressful circumstances. You are so appreciated.