So one of the things over heard at my friends ordination on thursday was: “So he’s just being ordained as a deacon?” To which the woman sitting next to me whispers: “Just a deacon?” She being in the final stages of her process to be ordained to the deaconate. For the non-Episcopalians reading this there are two types of deacons in the Episcopal Church. There is a vocational deaconate…which is the folks that are called to the deaconate as a vocation. And there is the transitional deaconate, which is what my friend was ordained to. This is a period of approx. six months before being ordained to the “full” priesthood.
So at my monthly discernment committee meeting on friday, I was telling the members about being at the ordination. However, none of us were quite sure what the purpose of the transitional deaconate. So I decided to email my friend and ask him what he thought about it.
His simple answer was it was a time on going discerment. A period of time for the church and yourself to make sure that this “call” is the right thing after all. More importantly (at least in his opinion), is that it gives you chance to begin to identify with the sense of servanthood and servent leadership that is critical for clergy. I like that idea.
One of the things I did this weekend is re-read the ordination services for both the deaconate and the priesthood. That was a good thing for me to do…to look at the differences in the service and apply them to what I see my call being. That however will have to be touched on in a future post.