The Ministry of Deacons

My brother, every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. 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. As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by your word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from time to time. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 543)

The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 856) Deacons, as a full, separate, and equal order, are called to minister to the world outside of the Church. In their ministry in the world, they, in turn, help the Church to understand the needs, hopes, and concerns of the world around it, and how the Church can be in relationship with those in need. Deacons also model servant ministry in the context of liturgy as they set the table and assist with serving communion. Additionally, deacons proclaim the Gospel, call us to confession when we have fallen short of the call of the Gospel, and dismiss God’s people into the world to live out the Gospel once more.

Deacons in the Diocese of Virginia have a wide range of ministry calls. These include, but are not limited to, racial reconciliation, ministry to those who are incarcerated, food justice, care for those experiencing dementia and cognitive changes, pastoral care, and public policy.

Deacons are formed in the St. Phoebe School for Deacons. You can learn more about discerning a call to the deaconate on this webpage or by attending the annual Day about the Diaconate, an event hosted by the Community of Deacons and St. Phoebe School for Deacons to help those interested in the diaconate to learn more.

Currently, approximately 30 active deacons are serving in the Diocese of Virginia. This number will continue to increase, and, as such, more deacons will be able to serve in more parishes. If your parish is interested in a diaconal placement, please complete and return the Request for Diaconal Placement form. Placements are made, in part, based on deacon availability in that area and a deacon’s call to ministry. Clergy and parishes who are interested in calling a deacon to their community are encouraged to spend time in discernment about that placement. Deacons can help communities broaden and deepen their work in the world around them. Deacons are not assistant or associate rectors and should not be called to fill roles generally done by assistant or associate rectors.

If you have additional questions, please contact:

The Ven. Frederico Garza, Archdeacon
The Ven. Holly Hanback, Archdeacon

Resources for Deacons: