Prayer, Care and Generosity Define Deacons’ Ministry
By Julia Marquez
Over the past year or so I have served as moderator of the Deacons. As noted in last week’s Temple Tidings article, I have stepped down as moderator, and Judy Rowan will take my place. My role as moderator allowed me to gain insights about the Deacons’ good work which I thought I’d share.
The Book of Order charges the Board of Deacons to give “compassion, witness and service… with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures or anyone in distress” (G-2.0201). More specifically Deacons may be assigned to care for members of the congregation in need, handle educational tasks, cultivate liberality in giving, collect and disburse monies to specific persons or causes, oversee the building and property, and assist with Communion (G-2.0202).
Using the Book of Order’s wide range of service activities as a starting point, our Board of Deacons considered the particular needs of our congregation to determine how to focus its energies. The Board decided that helping members of the congregation (and even those connected to the church, but not received as members) feel connected and cared for seemed particularly important during this time of pandemic-related isolation.
Each of the eight current Deacons has been assigned to a parish of approximately 10 families. Deacons reach out to members of their parish by emails, phone calls, texts, cards, or in-person visits. Building relationships results in knowing the prayer needs of our members. Deacons pray for parish members individually and also bring particular concerns to the monthly deacon meeting. Occasionally we have used candles as a way to express prayer needs. First Church has a Deacons Fund, 100% financed by the congregation’s generosity. Deacons are entrusted to distribute from this fund to help those in distress in our congregation. Our Deacons take this charge very seriously. All disbursement is determined by a consensus of the Board after careful consideration, as well as honoring the confidentiality of the request.
Deacons meetings include both logistical matters such as communion set up as well as how to address the particular needs of members. Our meetings have also included mutual encouragement and training on how to be an effective deacon.
I hope this article demystifies who the Deacons are and what they do. Know that if you are a regular part of our congregation, your deacon is praying for you and has your concerns at heart. If you are new to our congregation and would like to be assigned a deacon, please contact Judy Rowan, the new moderator or Pastor Matt.