Saturday, May 30, 2015

Episcopal Deacons blogging

Deacons who blog.....
Interested to peruse these blogs by Deacons in the Episcopal Church in the USA.
Betsy Blake Bennett, Archdeacon, Diocese of Nebraska
Alisa Carmichael, Diocese of South West Florida
Bill Cusano, Diocese of New York
Betty J. Kauffman, Archdeacon, Diocese of Western Louisiana
Kevin McGrane Sr, Diocese of Missouri
Rodger Patience, Diocese of Fond du Lac
Geri Swanson, Diocese of New York

Who else out there is blogging? Would love to make connections!

Qatar and human rights

I have followed the story about the FIFA arrests this week. As Edwin Rios writes: On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice dropped the hammer on FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, indicting nine senior FIFA officials and five sports marketing execs on charges of corruption, wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. Allegations of bribery have long plagued FIFA, especially since its controversial decision to grant Qatar the 2022 World Cup. (The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to the rich Gulf state with a terrible human rights record was a controversial one right out of the gate. There have been extensive allegations of bribery: why else, some figured, award the Cup to a tiny country with sweltering summer heat and no soccer culture to speak of?)
The discovery of oil in the 1940s and the discovery of natural gas in the 1970s has transformed Qatar. Fifteen years ago, the country was in debt. Now Qatar is the richest nation in the world per capita. Construction and development are exploding.
And there is a great need for workers in the construction boom, and to build the stadium for the World Cup. But for foreign workers, mainly from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Philippines, the situation is dire. Since 2010, more than 1,200 migrant workers have died in Qatar under hazardous working conditions, and a 2013 Guardian investigation found that at least 4,000 total are projected to die before the 2022 World Cup even starts. Nepali workers weren't even allowed to return home after the country's recent devastating earthquake. Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post put that toll in perspective in a striking infographic. He compared the number of workers who died in the run-up to several Olympics and World Cups with the number of those who have died in Qatar so far. It's horrifying:

The Guardian reports that workers are dying but have no opportunity to leave their appalling work conditions. They have often borrowed money to travel to Qatar from work (between $600-$5000, with interest at 30-60% per annum!), and then the salaries they are given in Qatar are far less than they had been told. Some have had their salaries delayed by months, some for more than a year. The migrant workers are tied to their employers for the length of their contract which can be five years. Amnesty continues to campaign on behalf of the workers.

I am moved by the plight of these workers who simply seek a way to provide their families back home with a way to a brighter future. Sporting events must not be built on the backs of the poor and vulnerable, and in ways that enslave them. It should be a concern not only for sports lovers, but for all people with regard for human life, and the flourishing of human dignity.

Pray that God will use this time of world focus to expose the evil and bring changes that will improve the conditions under which workers are forced to operate. Pray for justice and lasting transformation in Qatar for the lives of its migrant workers.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Eurovision and Australia


Australia had a wildcard entry in the 60th Eurovision Song Contest 2015 - which is surprising, given that Australia is 'down under' and nowhere near Europe! I was up early to watch the grand final live in Austria (not to be confused with Australia) and to cheer on the Australian contestant, Guy Sebastian. Australia finished 5th in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, receiving 196 points including the top votes from the host nation Austria and the competition winners Sweden.
I love the fact that the face of Australia at Eurovision, Guy Sebastian, was born in Malaysia from a cultural background of a Portugese/English mother brought up in India, and a Sri Lankan father from Malaysia, and that the Australian results were beamed in by Australian newsreader Lee Lin Chin, Indonesian-born of Chinese descent. I love the fact that they represent Australia at its best as a vibrant, multicultural nation
It was interesting to reflect on Pentecost in light of all these different nations belting out their music (too many power ballads, in my humble opinion!). It was interesting to reflect on the Pentecost story, and that there is no one divine language, but that God’s Spirit was revealed in multiple languages. That all languages are holy and equally worthy of carrying God's stories. That multi-culturalism and multi-lingualism are intrinsically interwoven into the fabric of God's church on earth.  There's much to celebrate in that, and much that presents a challenge to us all. About how we make space for difference, and how we learn to orient our ears to different languages. About how we respect the boundless variety and creativity of human voices. About the way powerful first world countries can use language as a weapon and restrict languages of other peoples in order to oppress and eliminate those perceived as different or threatening.

"We should listen carefully to the gospel — the good news — of Pentecost. On that day when God moved in fiery inspiration, God gave the divine voice to all the languages, to the marginalized, to the street. Any time a language or a voice crying out is suppressed, it is God’s voice, too, we are attempting to silence. We might do well to participate in Pentecost with this in mind, listening for the voice of God among the silenced, the powerless, the ignored, the forgotten, the oppressed, the nobodies.Pentecost wasn’t just about evocative images of fiery tongues and a rushing wind. Pentecost was a rebellion against those that would seek to restrict God to a single, respectable or official language of a single, righteous people or a single, systematic theology. Pentecost was a protest in which God refused to be silenced by the language of the powerful. Instead, on Pentecost, God spoke. And the people in the streets understood. They spoke, too, in the tongues of angels, the divine voice. Nothing could have been more subversive". David Henson, Patheos
And maybe it's worth a look at some of the Eurovision songs. While Australia's contribution was a great R&B 'get up and dance' song, some country’s songs contained political messages, some subtle, some more blatant. Greece's One Last Breath, was supposedly about divorce but mirrored its current economic brinkmanship with European creditors. Armenia’s group Genealogy was forced to change the name of its song Don’t Deny to Face the Shadow, as it was considered too provocative in this 100th anniversary year of the Armenian genocide. It purports to be about universal values and that happiness is born when people are united and live in harmony. Romania's song is All over again. The official music video shows a young boy whose parents are working in Vienna. Visibly sad at his parents being away, he writes letters to them begging them to come home and even dreams of sailing all the way up the Danube to find them. Towards the end of the video, this message appears on-screen:“More than 3 million Romanians are working abroad, trying to make a better life for their children. Unfortunately, the children are left behind.” In an age where economic downturn has hit hard across Europe and such sacrifices are a very real part of people’s daily lives, the song is unique in that it expresses the feelings surrounding this social phenomenon.

Russia's contribution was a beautiful anthemic and hopeful song, A million voices.

We are the world's people
Different yet we're the same
We believe, we believe in a dream

Praying for peace and healing
I hope we can start again
We believe, we believe in a dream

So if you ever feel love is fading
Together like the stars in the sky
We can sing, we can shine

When you hear our voices call
You won't be lonely anymore
A million voices
Your heart is like a beating drum
Burning brighter than the sun
A million voices

Now as the world is listening
From cities and satellites
We believe, we believe, in a dream

If you ever feel love is fading
Together like the stars in the sky
We can sing, we can shine


When I look around at these faces
I can see the stars in the sky
We will sing, we will shine

Singing out, Singing out..... a million voices.....



Friday, May 22, 2015

Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980) to be beatified May 23rd, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the streets of the capital of El Salvador on Saturday 23rd May to celebrate as former Archbishop Oscar Romero is beatified.
The following is from Shane Claiborne's Facebook page:

Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed 35 years ago on March 24th - as he served communion during worship. Many of the soldiers responsible for the atrocities in El Salvador like this one were trained by the US Army in Fort Benning, GA. Now Romero is on the path to sainthood as an official martyr of the church.
Although he began as a conservative archbishop, opposed to the progressive liberation theology that was popular among those seeking to help poor farmers in El Salvador, Oscar Romero was changed when his friend, a priest, was assassinated as a result of commitment to social justice.
Through weekly homilies on national radio, Romero advocated an end to the repression of the people in El Salvador, thus making himself an enemy of the government and the military. He was not successful in ending the violence: more than 75,000 Salvadorans would eventually be killed, one million would leave the country, and another million would be left homeless.
Because of his prophetic witness, Romero became a target of assassination. As he was saying Mass on March 24, 1980, he was shot and killed. “A bishop will die,” Romero had said, foreseeing his own fate, “but the church of God—the people—will not perish.”
At his funeral, the army opened fired on the more than 100,000 mourners, killing dozens.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Celebrating 60 years of diaconal ministry - Sr Irene Brunsveld

Sister Irene Brunsveld
On April 30th, 2015, Sister Irene Brunsveld celebrated 60 years as a deaconess. She was born in Bocholt, Germany. When she was 15, she heard a sermon about God prompting Abram to leave his home and move to a new country. That appealed to her enormously. From that moment on, she wanted to put her life at the service of God. Being only 15, her parents thought she was too young for such a drastic choice. But a long conversation one evening made them realize how serious young Irene was about what she felt God was calling her to do. She was only 16 when she completed a diaconal year in a supportive environment, and had the opportunity to learn to speak the Dutch language. In her ministry, she was available for young and old, healthy and sick, rich and poor. She was a kindergarten teacher, youth worker, and worked in several centres for the elderly, and nursing home aged care. She was able to open up faith conversations about with people, including terminally ill patients.
Sister Irene has always related her ministry to a watering can: Just as a watering can keeps plants alive, so she wants to water those experiencing difficult times with her love, kindness and compassion - where there is need, to be present with hands and heart. 'This is only possible if we receive and remain connected to the source of living water'.
Now 76, Sister Irene is far from silent, or 'retiring'. She does a lot of pastoral care. She makes visits to people in Amerongen. She has an extensive network of acquaintances, and visits the retired sisters who live in Elim. As she looks back on her years of diaconal service, she reflects: 'It's been worth it. I've had a rich life, and enjoy every day of God's faithfulness and good care'.

Sister Irene is part of the DWF member association, Zendings-Diaconessenhuis Bethanie

Zendings Diaconessenhuis
We celebrate Sister Irene's life, her witness and service, and her courage to respond to and pursue God's call on her life. We give thanks for her ministry, and her example of practical care and compassion - 'a watering can' for all those who thirst in life. And in celebrating Sister Irene's life, we are reminded of the iconic figure of Abram who left his country and kin in response to God's call on his life, and we recognize again the faithful of every generation and expand our awareness of a great company of witnesses above and around us like a cloud (Hebrews 12:1). Such awareness lifts us out of a preoccupation with our own immediate situation and the discouragements of the present. In the knowledge that others have persevered, we are encouraged to endure against all odds (Hebrews 12:1-2). And we are reminded that God has been with the faithful of the past, and so we are reassured that God is with us today. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Adnyamathanha pilgrimage

Look, listen, there are no straight lines....
DSC00789 for web
Sophie Lizares
In February 2015, Deacon candidate Sophie Lizares and Aboriginal Pastor Denise Champion, also a candidate for Ministry of Deacon in the Uniting Church in Australia, shared time together in the Flinders Ranges, about 5 hours north of Adelaide in South Australia.

This is Sophie's story:
“You asked about how to approach Aboriginal people,” Aunty Denise Champion picks up our conversation from several days ago. “This is how,” she says as together we step onto a path leading  to a low circular monument.
Nothing would have kept me from walking directly to the sinuous rust stone carving that mimicked the two snakes of Ikara (Wilpena Pound), the vast geological monument that surrounds us.  There were no barriers, no instructions, no protocols, just a stone marker at the mouth of the path announcing, “Ngarlparlaru yata”.

“This is our country,” Denise translates as we walk the two-toned gravel walk that wound its way to the centre. In the Aboriginal world, nothing is direct, the subtleties confound.
I am saved by the saying ‘relationship before stories before questions’, a way so counter-intuitive to the journalist in me. At the brown centre of the monument, however, on a grim grid, no words were minced:
“We lost our traditional way of life to pastoralism and our land to pastoralism–and adapted to an alien culture, a new language and religion.”
“My dad couldn’t vote, he was under the Dog Act. I felt so bad.”
“If the missionaries heard us kids speaking our language, they would refuse to sell our mother groceries at the store. She would have to wait for the next week  or travel to the next town to buy flour and sugar.”
“After years of pastoral settlement, our traditional life has disappeared.”

Embedded on the ground are crosses, horseshoes, and a length of barbed wire that cuts across. Even for me, it is painful, the line between prison and freedom. For all the Adnyamathanha place names that Aunty Denise had earlier asked us to remember – Vandha Urthanha, Yura Bila, Ngurri Madlanha – she gives us no name for this memorial. She refers to it as the ‘National Park Rangers Quarters' - in English.

Aunty Denise, a Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress elder, is leading a pilgrimage of about 30 persons on Adnyamathanha country, 430kms north of Adelaide. There are whitefellas and blackfellas, but when one looks closely, the lines blur. There is Rhanee whose mother is Aboriginal and whose father came from Indian, Malay and Anglo lines. With her is her American-born husband, who traces his genealogy to Costa Rica and to Africans who were taken there. Their children are dusky blonde beauties. There are the three brothers from the Taize  Community, one French, another German, another Australian, their own ‘Pilgrimage of Trust’ intersecting with us: Anglo-Australian, German-Australian, Italian, French, Liberian and Filipino.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Congratulations to Rev Jim Ley on being awarded honorary doctorate

Rev. James Ley to Receive Honorary DoctorateCongratulations to Rev Jim Ley, the Archdeacon from the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, on being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Public Service at Widener University today (May 15th). This is for Jim's work with the people of Chester, PA, one of the most disadvantaged cities in the US. Of the 33,000 population, 36.9% live in poverty and 13.2% are unemployed (compared to national average of 7%).
Jim has been involved in operating non-profit organizations in the Chester area, including establishing America's first non-profit supermarket, Fare and Square. 
Jim recognized his call to ordained ministry as part of his involvement in Chester Eastside Inc. (formally known as Chester Eastside Ministries). He was ordained in 2003 and the following year was appointed as the Archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. He is currently the vice chair of Chester Eastside Inc. and president of the advisory board of Episcopal Place at Park Row, a low income housing project in Upland, Pa. He is a member of the Chester branch of the NAACP and the Chester Swarthmore Leadership Institute. In his 18 years of social justice advocacy, he has been associated with more than a dozen other organizations in Chester and the Episcopal Diocese and was the recipient of the John Shelton Sr. Freedom Award given to the Chester branch of the NAACP and the Liberty Bell Award given by the Delaware County Bar Association.
He also works very closely with Widener on the Community Based Learning Strategic Planning Taskforce, The Bonner High Impact Strategic Planning Committee, The Presidents Community Advisory Board and frequently guest lectures and provides administration, professors and students tours of Chester as seen through the lens of social justice.
Widener University, will award the honorary doctorate, is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Widener President James T. Harris III. “Rev Ley’s commitment to the community and social justice is an inspiration for all of us and a value that we strive to instill in our students before they graduate.”
33,000 - Population of Chester
36.9 - Percentage of Chester residents living in poverty
13.2 - Percentage of unemployed residents
- See more at:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

news from Association for Episcopal Deacons (USA)

“Diaconal leadership is willing to know the world deeply enough to be able to interpret it.”
Susanne Watson Epting

A Farewell to Archdeacon Jo Weber on her retirement

Archdeacon Jo Weber
In the words of Rod Dougliss:
"The Ven. Claudia Jo Weber graduated from The School for Deacons with the Class of 2002. She was ordained in the Diocese of El Camino Real and has served there in St. Luke’s, Los Gatos and St. Luke’s, Atascadero. She was named Archdeacon for Deacons by Bishop Mary Gray Reeves and continues to be active and involved at the diocesan level. Jo has worked in The School for Deacons office, helping to bring order out of various forms of chaos and, thence, succeeded her spouse, The Rev. Mary Morrison as instructor of Prayer Book Studies I & II, and the first year Liturgical Practicum I. She then evolved the position of Dean of Chapel—taking a lot of responsibility for the “liturgy laboratory” dimensions of our common worship life in the School for Deacons community.
A long the way, she added the responsibilities of Membership Director of the Association for Episcopal Deacons. As such she maintained and kept as accurate as humanly possible the only  comprehensive database for deacons in The Episcopal Church.
We will miss Jo in countless ways. Her insistence on the integrity of the Anglican tradition and specifically The Episcopal Church at worship has given generations of students a firm foundation on which they can confidently be flexible, and confident and competent in the liturgical tradition and practice of any Episcopal congregation.
One of the dean’s favorite quotes is, when noting that the Deacon is not primarily a liturgical person, Jo notes, “but if you are a doofus at the altar who will be willing to follow you into the scary places of diaconal ministry?”

New Deacon Dina Fulgoni

The Most Rev. Paul Kim, bishop of Seoul and archbishop of Korea (left) and the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of Los Angeles, pose with new deacon Dina Fulgoni (second from left) and new priests Sarah Kitch and Yein Esther Kim (daughter of Archbishop Kim) after their ordination April 25 at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, Los Angeles (Episcopal Diocese of LA). 
Congratulations, Dina, and blessings for your ministry. 
(Association for Episcopal Deacons is a member of DIAKONIA World Federation)

Deacon Dina Fulgoni (second from left)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mothers' Day

Many countries will recognize Mothers' Day this coming Sunday (in the UK Mothering Sunday is in March).

A friend wrote a poem/prayer and published it in the pocket poets series, In Prayer and Protest (Pocket Poets #8). It offers words for celebration of mothering, and words for lament. It offers a powerful alternative narrative to the sentimentalism of Mothers' Day. When Mothers' Day is treated like a Hallmark greeting card, it can  sometimes compound grief for many, when pain and loss and grief are not recognized as part of reflections on mothering. Let us seek a certain honesty in the complexity of relationships and place lament alongside celebration. 

Sarah's words below could be tailored to particular places and situations with additional words after the lament words, and before the summary line, 'we lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven' (which could be spoken together as a responsive phrase if used in worship).

For instance, I'm mindful of the  214 girls rescued by the Nigerian army this week from terror group Boko Haram (now Iswap) who are  "visibly pregnant", spreading fears they had been raped by the militants. The news came after reports emerged that women and girls kidnapped by the insurgents were routinely raped and forced to marry their abductors. As a result of the sexual violence, some of them are now pregnant.

I'm mindful of the 10 year old in Paraguay, impregnated by her step-father and now half way through her pregnancy, and expected to carry it to full term.

I'm mindful of the women and their children who are experiencing domestic and family violence and forced to flee, many enduring the prospect of ongoing homelessness.

I'm mindful of women like the young mother Sai in Thailand who struggle to make ends meet and go to the city to make money to help their families, only to be lured into the sex industry.

I'm mindful of young couples who want to have a baby but grieving that it is harder to conceive than they ever imagined. And those women who never had a child, but longed to be a mother.

I'm mindful of the children who are grossly neglected by one or both parents, like little Chloe Valentine in my own city, who died as a result of injuries she sustained due to the negligence of those who were meant to care for her.

I'm mindful of the women who live in places where there is no access to emergency services for the delivery of babies, and who endure long labours resulting in horrific internal injuries including damage to the bladder and rectum, so they leak constantly, and are shunned by others, pushed to the margins and considered a curse. (And thankful for medical intervention for women with fistula by hospitals and medical centres such as Addis Ababa Hospital in Ethiopia). 

I'm mindful of people like WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather who has had at least seven assaults against 5  women, including 2 women who are mothers of his children, that resulted in arrest or citations in addition to other episodes in which the police were called but no charges filed. He is high profile, and allegations are largely brushed aside. Yet violence against women is a growing problem more generally, and continues to be largely ignored and uncontested in the wider community and often unreported to police. Domestic violence should raise immense concern and alarm in our communities. (Last night in my home city of Adelaide, the Coalition of Women's Domestic Violence Services held a candlelight vigil, standing in solidarity and saying no to violence, and remembering those who have died as a result of domestic violence, as well as their loved ones). 
Coalition of Women's Domestic Violence Services candlelight vigil, Adelaide
If they are among the five percent of women worldwide who will face obstructed labour, they will be in agonising labour for days and days.
They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage – sometimes the bladder is completely destroyed, sometimes the rectum is also damaged. They leak constantly and are pushed to the edge of their society, too filthy to be part of village life and considered a curse.
- See more at:
If they are among the five percent of women worldwide who will face obstructed labour, they will be in agonising labour for days and days.
They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage – sometimes the bladder is completely destroyed, sometimes the rectum is also damaged. They leak constantly and are pushed to the edge of their society, too filthy to be part of village life and considered a curse.
- See more at:
If they are among the five percent of women worldwide who will face obstructed labour, they will be in agonising labour for days and days.
They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage – sometimes the bladder is completely destroyed, sometimes the rectum is also damaged. They leak constantly and are pushed to the edge of their society, too filthy to be part of village life and considered a curse.
- See more at:
I'm mindful of the Australian Aboriginal mothers whose children were taken from them ('The Stolen Generations'), some of whom ended up in Colebrook Home in Adelaide, where a mission was run from 1942-1972. The photo below is a sculpture in the Colebrook Reconciliation Park that now stands where Colebrook home once was, with a grieving mother - frozen in time - waiting for her children to return. It is so touching that visitors often leave flowers in her empty arms. So appropriate on Mothers Day.

Colebrook Reconciliation Park, Adelaide
There are many more examples.....

Let us celebrate well the life-giving nature of mothering when we see it and experience it, but let us also offer lament alongside when we see what is life-denying and calling for sorrow, and action, so that our words speak honestly to many people who are hurting on Mothers' Day, and broaden the scope of our own loving kindness to others.

Celebration and Lament for mothers’ day by Sarah Agnew
(please acknowledge Sarah if this is used in print, visual or spoken versions)

As a community, we take time to pause and give thanks for the gift of mothers.
Shining a light on the gift, shadows fall, and we acknowledge the shadows, too.

We celebrate and give thanks, each of us, for our mother. The woman who carried us in her womb, gave birth to us, brought us into life.
We lament, each of us, separation from our mother at different times, through conflict, distance of place, death.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate and give thanks, each of us, for those who have been as mothers to us; our aunts and pseudo-aunts, big sisters, friends, mentors and teachers. The women who have nurtured, taught, encouraged, shaped us with love.
We lament, each of us, the women who have caused us pain, who have abandoned or neglected us, mistakenly or intentionally caused us harm.  We lament the hurt we have caused to women, our friends, colleagues, neighbours, sisters, aunts and mothers.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate and give thanks, together, for the women in our communities. That women and men are different invites us into partnership, invites us to share the burdens and the joys of life. For the many strengths of women, their gifts of peace-making, nurture, education, entrepreneurship, healing, wisdom, creativity, endurance, collaboration, physicality – and so much more, we are grateful.
We lament, together, that women are still discounted because they are women, in our culture and in others. That the difference between women and men is seen as threatening, a power struggle, a competition or a hierarchy, is not, we know, your dream for us.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate, those of us who are mothers and grandmothers, the joy and privilege it is to collaborate with you in the creation of life. We give thanks for our children, their uniqueness, the delight we find in watching and helping them grow.
We lament, those of us who are not mothers and want to be, or who are mothers of children who have died.
We lament, and have no words for our grief.

We celebrate, we give thanks, for you, our mothering God, whose wings enfold us like those of a mother hen, who gives birth to all that lives, who loves fiercely, protectively, and with great delight. We celebrate what we know of you as like a mother.
We lament our turning from you and causing you pain, our rejection of your gifts of life and love in so many ways. We seek your forgiveness again and again.

Again and again, God welcomes us home, as a mother welcomes her children.
Again and again, God celebrates us, God’s children, and delights in watching and helping us grow.
Come, now, under the wings of God; come, now, into the warmth of Love.

You are forgiven. You are loved. Precious child of your Mothering God. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

MDO - Methodist Diaconal Order UK

MDO convocation
The Methodist Diaconal Order (MDO) in the UK has been holding the annual Convocation (5- 8th May, 2015). Here are some of the diaconal ministry agents sharing their stories. 

On the final day of the Convocation, May 8th, Methodist Deacons will take part in an act of re-dedication.

Below is an extract from the order of service which will be followed:

Sisters and brothers we have been called by God to a holy ministry within the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we were ordained we pledged ourselves to that calling and the Church, with prayer and the laying on of hands, called upon the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful in it. Today, in this act of re-dedication, we renew our obedience and trust and ask afresh to be sustained by the power of God.

Let us pray:
Let us give thanks to God for the privilege of this ministry to which we have been called, within the fellowship of the Order:
For Gods sovereign love promising to make all things new;
for the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for all the world;
for his abundant grace, our example and hope;
for the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the people of God and for the church which has nourished and sustained us;
for the call which we heard and the ways in which it has since been renewed;
for the power of Christs gospel to search us out and reclaim us when we have lost the way;
for the ways in which God has sustained us in times of doubt and difficulty and enabled us to learn from weakness and failure;
for the joy of serving others in the name of Christ;
for the privilege of sharing in the pilgrimage of faith and the ministry of others;
for what we have received from those we sought to serve. 


Friday, May 1, 2015

Diakonia Sisterhood in South Korea -

Diakonia Sisterhood in South Korea formed on May 1, 1980
 Today is May 1st, and a day to remember the 35th anniversary of the Diakonia Sisterhood in South Korea which was formed on May 1, 1980.
The Diakonia Sisterhood is an inspiring group of women committed to the welfare of people in their community. I remember a short visit I was able to make to Mok-po in 2013 to visit the community and found it to be absolutely inspiring. Some of the history of the sisterhood is written up here

Please remember in your prayers Sister Young-Sook Ree, Director of Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea, and the community of Diakonia Sisterhood.

Aged care in Mok-po

DUCC National Gathering (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada)


This week (Tuesday April 28th to Friday May 1st), Deacons in the United Church of Canada have gathered at Crieff Hills Centre, Puslinch, Ontario for their biennial national gathering. The theme is 'Timeless Wisdom: Exploring Innovative Traditions'. During the gathering they will revisit the history of diakonia, consider the future of diaconal ministry in the church, conduct the business of DUCC and explore diaconal identity as ministry agents. Participants will explore together major historical periods when Diakonia was forced to change in response to a changing context and new understandings. They will look at key documents from their denomination which have significance for DUCC, as well as future initiatives as DUCC. Key documents are on line here.
(Some video and photos from the gathering are on the DUCC Facebook page here)
Ecumenical guests include:
  • Lisa Polito, DOTAC President, Executive director Lutheran Deaconess Association
  • Marg Robertson, Presbyterian Diaconal Minister; DOTAC executive member
  • Sister Anne Keefer, Lutheran Deaconess Community ELCA/ELCIC
  • Frank Tyrell, Anglican Deacon, CCS board member
The Statement of Vision adopted by DUCC at its April 2009 gathering:
God calls us to diaconal ministry.
The gospel of Jesus invites all to this ministry:
to offer compassion and accompaniment,
to work for liberation and justice,
to act as advocates of creative transformation.
Diaconal ministry, as a recognized order, is rooted
within our faith tradition and history,
and it is continued and embodied,
in an ecumenical, world-wide community.
This vocation is a journey,
involving Spirit-filled enrichment and learning,
requiring humble offering of self,
demanding prayerful discernment and courageous risking,
exercising visionary and communal leadership,
promising joy and meaning,
and daring to imagine God’s abundance,
in a world of love and respect.
Through education, service, social justice, and pastoral care,
diaconal ministry in The United Church of Canada,
encourages a growing faith,
speaks truth to power,
seeks mutual empowerment,
proclaims prophetic hope,
nurtures life-giving community,
fosters peaceful, right relationship,
within the church and the whole of creation,
wherever the Spirit may lead.

Please uphold the gathering in prayer. The prayer below expresses wonderfully the hope not only for the DUCC gathering but for God's world-wide church. 

Holy One, Source of All, Creator of all that is and will be
Christ, Saviour, and Redeemer,
hope of the world to come,
Spirit and Sustainer, Advocate, breath of life and love.....
We give thanks for creation.
In awe and wonder,
we marvel at the new life and beauty you are continually creating.
And we know,
beyond all sense of knowing, that what you are doing is good.
We draw inspiration and strength from places
where we already see hope lived out and the Spirit unleashed.
And we know that your Spirit - that sense of unwavering hope -
is stirring and speaking life in the very depths of our being
and inviting us to be part of your new creation.
We know our attention sometimes strays
and we focus on things that do not serve your mission.
But your mission is our mission.
We pray for insight, that we may sense your call.
We pray for the strength to let go.
And we pray for the courage to travel more lightly.
May we draw closer to you and your vision,
as inspired and invited by Jesus’ own example.
Propel us into your future, which is rooted in the richness of our past.
This is our prayer, and in the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
May it be so. Amen
(Source: United in Vision, UCC comprehensive report 2015)