The Diakonia of All People
Written by The Reverend Anthony Estes, Deacon
Director of Digital Communications
A few years ago, I attended a Diaconal ordination for the first time. The preacher, a bishop, said something in his homily that I have carried in my heart from then on. He said that the essence of diaconal ministry is something that all four orders of ministry have in common (laity, bishops, priests, and deacons). Every member of the Episcopal Church, by baptism, bridges the gap between the Church and the world. He inferred that all we do as Christians living in the world is consistent with diaconal understanding of ministry. In other words, the deacon actively evangelizes the world through her words and actions outside of the four walls of the church house. That’s something we are all charged to do, and a promise we renew at every baptism.
I have only been a deacon for a few weeks, and one of the ways I live into my ministry as continuing to work with and for CCC as Director of Digital Communications. It is my honor and daily task to share with the world via social media all the ways the Gospel is shaping our lives as a parish. By far, one of the most engaged Facebook posts of 2018 was our Sacred Jazz Concert, a collaboration with the Carr Center. Rodney Whitaker came to CCC back in March, and the church was packed to hear the music of Duke Ellington expertly rendered by the musicians. I know we are proud to support the arts community of metro Detroit, and this is consistent with our missional thrust: meeting Jesus, finding joy, sharing beauty, and serving others. An even more impactful assessment of how our parish deacons in the world is provided by looking at metrics on posts surrounding national tragedies. Our rector has given voice and shape to our concerted efforts to minister to the world on the anniversary of 9/11, hurricanes, and most recently, the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Those posts have reached thousands of people, and provided measures of healing for those in emotional and spiritual distress. Walking with people, sharing their joys and concerns, hearing stories and engaging the spiritual needs of our community is deacon work in its truest sense. It is work I am proud to say we do faithfully. Being a deacon at CCC is so easy because of our outstanding commitment to serving Christ in our community.
As we approach the New Year and you think about what you will set as your intention for 2019, consider being even more intentional about your every day, deacon-like life ministry in the name of Christ. As you pray, you may feel God calling you to do something but may not be able to perceive clearly what that is. If that’s the case, talk to one of our clergy. Whatever you do, know that serving God by serving others in the ways you can, right where you live, work, and play is holy work. How you express the diakonia, or servant ministry will vary based on lots of factors. Even so, staying engaged and increasing the gift of yourself will only serve you well in 2019. Happy New Year!