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On Monday, June 22, I received the following email from the 7th Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia (1969), the 7th Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster (1980) and 9th Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon (1981). Archbishop Douglas is very active in minisry and a parishioner at All Saints', Ladner. I asked him if he would conisder this "a letter to the editor" of sorts and give permission for it to be used as blogpost on the diocesan website. He approved. Here is a link to the website newspost that prompted the email.  EDITOR

I was pleased to be reminded of this deaconing anniversary.

It started when the bishops returned from Lambeth '68. Our House directed John Frame of Yukon and me - the two newest bishops to work on the subject.

First breakthrough was realizing that we had to recover the idea of baptismal ministry. I could write at length of that.

Discussion on deacons was long and sometimes fierce. Questions such as:

  • Is a deacon The Reverend ? (many preferred Deacon).
  • Should deacons wear dog collars?
  • Should they vote in Synod as clergy or laity?

From the clergy came anxious questions that suggested parish clergy were threatened by the idea of deacons. From bishops came the anxious question:

  • Will parishes see the deacon as cheap or free labour?

When the dust settled the order of deacons emerged with a number of stipulations.

  • It was agreed a deacon must be “raised up” by a congregation, not by a priest looking for assistance.
  • A deacon must identify the specific serving ministry already being exercised.
  • The deacon may preach after specific training in homiletics. 

The bishops identified the ministry of the deacon as one that reminds all of us, bishops, priests and laity of our baptismal ministry of servanthood.