Here are Ted’s reflections on the event…
“I chose this course because I wanted to consolidate my understanding of the two thousand years of diaconal history. While I do not claim to be an expert, I now feel that I have a rich understanding of the significant eras in the timeline of the diaconate.
Through the centuries, this ministry has taken on a variety of forms and functions. No one definition of diakonia stands as decisive or irrefutable. No single model delineates diaconal ministry finally or categorically. Over the ages, the diaconate has moved with flexibility into areas where they are needed, where service is required. Further, diaconal ministry is more than an office or the people who were called deacons or deaconesses; the whole church is called to diakonia.
While I do not believe history needs to be seen through a deterministic lens, I do feel that we are shaped by the past. The diaconal story begins before one is commissioned, consecrated, or ordained, and one is moulded by it, often without knowing the details or without articulating its assumptions. I deeply valued this opportunity to learn who we are by studying the past. Immersing myself in the content of our diaconal tradition offered me a broader comprehension of my vocation and will enable me to share this knowledge and insight with our students.
A second goal of the course was to ground the process of diaconal discernment and formation in spiritual practice. We read texts related to community: Brother Roger and the Taizé community, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work, Life Together. We participated in daily public worship, kept journals, and entered into a private, daily lectio divina reading of the Psalms. Additionally, we studied an excellent short history of Christian spirituality, Bradley Holt’s Thirsty for God.
|Ted at far right with the neon yellow shoes, at the Diaconal Ministry Course in South Carolina|