The Diaconate in the Diocese of New Jersey:
Guidelines for Rectors and Vicars for a Person Exploring a Call to the Diaconate
- The first step to be taken by an individual seeking admission to the School for Deacons is to speak with the rector/vicar of the parish about this possibility (Title III, Canon 4, sec. 2a).
- The rector/vicar should have several conversations with this individual in order to begin an exploration of his/her call to ordained ministry.
- At this very early stage of the discernment process, talks should be directed toward consideration of the issue of ordained versus lay ministry. Priestly versus diaconal order can then be developed from this foundation.
- The rector/vicar should not expect to make a final evaluation of the validity of this call. He or she should, however, ‘make careful inquiry into the physical, intellectual, moral, emotional and spiritual qualifications of the person’ (Title III, Canon 4, sec. 2b).
- If the inquirer has been a communicant in good standing of the congregation for one year and the decision is that he/she should continue in the application process (Title III, Canon 4, sec. 2b), for background information and an application form the inquirer should contact:
The Ven Lynn Johnson
808 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
- The deadline for applications for the next class will be posted in 2018.
- A congregation intending to encourage a parishioner to apply formally for admission to The School for Deacons must have a Parish Committee on Ministry for the Diaconate in place which will support the inquirer in his/her further discernment process.
Therefore the rector/vicar should appoint a committee of four to six people with good listening and pastoral skills to begin learning about the diaconate. The rector/vicar should be included in this learning process. In addition to studying all material on the section of the website for diaconal ministry, the following books should be read by all involved:
The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order, by James Barnett
Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons, by Ormonde Plater.
This learning process should take place before interviews with the inquirer begin.
- Points to keep in mind:
The deacon is under direct authority of the bishop.
The deacon’s primary ministry is in the world.
The prospective deacon will not return to the sponsoring congregation when ordained.