This book has been bouncing around in the back of my brain for a long time now and I think it is finally appropriate to come out as my last post as NADC consultant. It was given to me by an acquaintance who did not know what a deacon was or what a deacon does, but they heard that I was a deacon and saw it on Oprah's list and thought it must be for me! This friend of mine is not a professing christian and I don't know if they made the connection of the book to spirituality, but it was an enjoyable read.
My favourite quote was one that speaks to what deacons in all our congregations do. When the main character is asked his name, he says... "mostly in these parts they calls me Deacon." Which is followed up by the question, what does a deacon do? And here is his answer... that may be your answer too.
"Well now, that's a good question. We do all sorts of things. We helps the church. We throws out the garbage. We buys the furniture sometimes. We shop for he food for the deaconesses to make for the repast and such. We even preaches from time to time if we is called upon. We does whatever needs to be done. We're your holy handyman."
A humble, well rounded answer in my opinion.
And an honest one, because he follows it up by saying well actually, truth be told, it's the women that run most of the churches out here and most of the time from behind the scenes. And don't we all know the truth and importance to that, as we should be elevating more women to leadership roles!
It is one thing I love about being a deacon and serving our congregations and communities. And it is one of the biggest things I will miss by not being in the NADC consultant role; connecting with and serving others. I will continue serving in deacon ways in my own congregation and I will try to be a presence in the areas of my passions, to the wider community as I am able on a voluntary basis. We need to continue the conversation on creation care and go further, we need to make walking the path of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters one of the top justice actions and we can't overlook those on the margins who will help call us to account.
I hope deacons will continue to learn, be curious and compassionate about our world and all people in it. I hope deacons will continue to be excited about justice, service and love to others. And I hope deacons will inspire and encourage all those around them to do the same and find where their passions could lead them. Before I became a deacon, I had no idea that serving and building relationships with men in the prison system would give my life meaning and energy during a global pandemic, but we all need to be open to how God can surprise us.
There may be challenging times ahead for churches and those in leadership; (like deacons) but I pray that deacons will continue to be voices for peace, critics of injustice and keep doing what needs to be done. Life certainly never stays the same, new seasons and opportunities arise and we have to be willing and ready to go where the spirit leads.
I have been blessed by the seven years of serving in this role and I hope to still see many of you into the future, around the circles of ministry and care for our communities. - Jesse Edgington