By Michael Shapcott
More than 90 vocational (permanent) deacons from the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Christian churches gathered for an international forum on the diaconate in Regina in mid-May. The deacons came from Scotland, England, United States and Canada – including Michael Shapcott, deacon at Church of the Holy Trinity – Trinity Square.
“It was a first-ever ecumenical gathering of vocational deacons,” says Shapcott. “We had a chance to share our diaconal ministries and discovered across the Christian traditions that there are many shared practices, as well as some very significant differences.”
The goal of ecumenical dialogue is to share practices, to grow and strengthen in our own traditions, and to identify possible opportunities for closer engagement across the Christian spectrum.
Canadian vocational deacons, gathering in the summer of 2017 in Victoria, decided that the proper name for a gathering of deacons is a “disturbance”. The role of the permanent diaconate facing towards the church and towards the community is to draw attention to the “needs, cares, concerns and hopes” of the world, and to support the church is engaging in economic and social justice ministry, as well as supporting a wide liturgical expression.