Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ben Ema's consecration as Lutheran Deacon

In 2011, the Lutheran Deaconess Association Board of Directors voted to accept men into the LDA's diaconate. Ben Ema has been serving as the first President of the Community of Lutheran Deacons (CLD) which includes men who are deacons or deacon students.

Ben by profession is a nursing student at Valparaiso University. He has now completed his requirements for formation to be a Lutheran Deacon, and his consecration service will be on Sunday June 8th in the afternoon, to be held at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University, 1600 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso, Indiana.

This is a very exciting time for Ben, and historically a very significant time as Ben will be the first Lutheran Deacon (through the LDA) to be consecrated.

Congratulations, Ben! 

(If you wish to send a greeting to congratulate Ben, perhaps you can communicate via Lisa Polito (Executive Director, LDA) or via the Facebook World DIAKONIA page)

Deacon Students 2013
Ben Ema (centre back) with other students - Elliott Stephenson, Steve Arnold, Andrew Stoebig, and Jack Walter
Rev Bill Loader has several 'charges' for new Deacons in the Uniting Church in Australia. This one is adapted for Ben. 

You have become a member of an order which has taken many forms over the course of the church’s life.
Like all ministries it finds its origin and its life in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
All are called to ministry.
All are called to share God’s life in the world, whether in formal acts of worship or hands-on actions of care.
All orders of ministry which have been put in place in the church to make this possible participate in this same wide range of ministry.
They vary in the focus and intensity of their activities rather than in their range.
As a Deacon your primary focus will be offering leadership in this wide range of ministry as it expresses itself in acts of caring service in the world. You will do more than this, but this is the concentration that belongs especially to your order.
To engage in leadership includes leadership by example.
You will pray for people.
You will care for people.
You will bring to people in word and deed the good news of hope and love.
To engage in leadership also includes teaching.
You will dream dreams and see visions and tell what you have seen.
You will help people understand how to care, what they are caring about and why.
You will help people make connections between themselves and their faith and their world.
To engage in leadership also includes prophecy and protest.
You will not only see the poor, but identify the structures which create and sustain poverty.
You will not only see injustices, but identify the powers at work whose interests are served by injustice.
You will not only comfort the broken-hearted, but cry out to God with them in the impenetrable darkness where no answers are ever visible.
When the sands blow and the dry winds buffet you, stand firm,
As you have stood firm before.
The buds that have long been forming will wait their time
And then the colour will come
And you will surprise yourself again with beauty and strength.
Sink your roots deeply,
for new seasons await you,
new fruit to form, new seeds to spread,
borne by the naturalness of your spirituality.
Don't be afraid to penetrate deeply into the rich soil of scripture beneath the surface mulch
which keeps it warm and makes it look nice;
People need depth and you can give it to them.
At times you will hum with insects, flies, and bees
and kweech with squawking birds.
Enjoy the buzz and challenge of ministry,
but treasure also the times of silent renewal.

For you are not asked to carry the world on your shoulders.
You are not to be held accountable for every human need.
There will be times when you must close your eyes, not in denial, but because you can only see so much.
There are times when you must rest, not in carelessness, but in deliberate nurture of your own being.
You do not have to do everything, so you can be free to face human need without the trickeries of denial and without the self indulgence of despair.
Such freedom from yourself will mean you will be best available to others.
You will be free to affirm joy and to affirm pain
and to be yourself and bear fruit in ministry.

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