Join the RI Diaconate in Raising Funds
St. Mary’s Home for Children
On July 13, 1985, Bishop George Hunt ordained the first class of Deacons who completed their formation and academic preparations at the Diocese of Rhode Island School for Deacons. This was the beginning of the revival and resurrection of the vocational Diaconate in our diocese. Since that time, there have been 42 people ordained to this order and several others who have transferred their orders to our diocese for a total of 46 vocational deacons to serve here. Some of these have moved to other dioceses or denominations, some renounced their orders, and others are deceased. Today, there are 27 canonically resident vocational deacons in Rhode Island, with ten active and seventeen retired. All active Deacons serve in a parish or mission in collaboration with the Rector, Vicar, or Priest-in-Charge.
2015 is being designated as a year of celebration for this outstanding ministry in our Diocese. There is a Diocesan wide diaconal ministry event being launched to raise funds for St. Mary’s Home for Children, with the current deacons working with parishes and missions to raise funds for this vital work in our community, and to raise awareness of the financial needs of the agency to sustain this work. The fundraiser was kicked off with the collection of $534 from the Episcopal Church Women’s Annual Meeting designating their loose offering collection during their Eucharist for this imitative! Parishes are being asked to do creative activities to raise money throughout the winter and the spring which will be gathered and presented to St. Mary’s at a Festive Eucharist on May 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM, at St. Martin’s Church, Providence.
The ritual for the ordination of deacons expresses with particular authority the understanding the church has regarding the ministry of deacons:
... God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. … You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. … At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ's people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself. BCP page 543
The deacon is the bridge between the church and the world. Over the last thirty years, deacons in Rhode Island have contributed to their ministry beyond the walls of our churches in many and diverse ways. A few samples of their ministry include serving the homeless and hungry through the George Hunt Help Center, soup kitchens, food banks and other initiatives. They have provided chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons, for people affected by HIV & AIDS, and on college campuses. They have provided ministry at the LADD School, visited those in nursing homes, and worked with people suffering with mental illness and addiction. They have ministered internationally in Romania and Haiti, as well as the Dominican Republic.
Deacons contributed to the governance of the church by serving on Diocesan committees and commissions, and have been delegates to General Convention. Their commitment spans the church and the world in many ways because they are deacons in everything that they do!
Please join in the fundraiser event for St. Mary’s and plan to attend the Festive Eucharist on May 30, 2015 to celebrate and honor this sacred order.