7. Diaconal Programme – Policy, Standards and Accountability of Deacons

7.1 Deacons are clergy, a full, equal and distinctive order. They are ordained for life and under authority, having taken the vows and made the oaths required by the canons of the Anglican Church of Canada. They function only with a licence or letter of permission from the Bishop and are accountable to the Incumbent of their Parish, or other person designated by the Bishop. They receive the clergy mailings of the Diocese and an invitation to the clergy retreat and clergy conference.

7.2 Deacons with a licence, from the Bishop shall attend and vote at Synod as members of the order of clergy, according to the process outlined in the Canons. Others with a Letter of Permission to officiate may attend Synod and vote according to the process outlined in the Canons.

7.3 Deacons are subject to all of the provisions of Canon Law regarding discipline and to all the policies and practices of this Diocese, which apply to their order. There will be separate provisions for the term of appointment of a deacon, which will be written into the Parish covenant.

7.4 In accordance with the present policy of this Diocese, transitional Deacons (called to the Priesthood) will be so designated.

7.5 Deacons will bear the title “The Reverend”

7.6 Deacons may wear clerical collars when they are in a role of proclamation or witness. If vesting for the eucharist the proper liturgical dress will be an alb and stole. If it is the custom of the presiding priest to wear a chasuble, the deacon may wear a dalmatic.

7.7  The traditional roles for the Deacon in the Eucharist include involvement in overseeing, providing training for, and participating in the proclamation of the Gospel, preaching, if the Deacon is skilled in this area and licensed by the Bishop, the prayers of the people, and administration of communion. A deacon will prepare the table and dismiss the people to their mission in the world. Deacons are to give leadership to these roles in parishes/congregations in ways, which uphold and affirm the ministries of all baptized persons.

7.8 Deacons will not be licensed to officiate at weddings or baptisms.

7.9 Deacons are required to maintain a schedule of continuing education, including the clergy retreat and conference. Continuing education will be a requirement for the renewal of licenses. Parishes are responsible for paying the registration fee, travel, accommodation, and meal expenses for required events.

7.10 Deacons may attend regional, diocesan, and national committees as a deacon of this Diocese.

7.11 Use of the Reserved Sacrament by Deacons is limited to pastoral occasions such as visits to the sick. Only in exceptional circumstances will a Deacon be authorized by the Bishop, to preside at a public service using the Reserved Sacrament.

7.13 If the situation arises, a Deacon may transfer to a different parish, provided the parish receiving the Deacon undergoes a process of education and discernment. The transfer will require the consent of the Bishop, the Deacon and the Incumbent or other authority in the new parish.

7.14 Deacons who graduate from the Kootenay School of Ministry may or may not have their training recognized by another Diocese.

7.15 In the event that a Deacon discerns a call to priesthood, the process will be the same as for any baptized applicant and will include a new discernment process, visits to the examining chaplains and attendance at ACPO.

7.2 When the Incumbent leaves a Parish, the following policies and procedures apply during the interim period and the selection process of a new Incumbent for a Parish:

7.2.1 If there is a resident, ordained Deacon in the Parish:

7.2.2 The Deacon will not be the interim Deacon-in-charge of the Parish.

7.2.3 As a member of the permanent staff of the parish a Deacon will not be a member of the personnel commission for the new incumbent. Information on the ministry of the deacon will be included in the parish profile.

7.2.4 The Deacons’ primary ministry in the community and the Parish/Congregation, as well as his/her usual liturgical role in Sunday worship, will continue during the transition.

7.2.5 The interim Priest-in-charge ought to seek guidance from the Deacon(s), the Bishop and/or the Diaconal Commission about the role of the parish Deacon(s).

7.2.6 During the search process the personnel committee will engage in conversations with candidates for the incumbency about the role and function of a deacon and about perceived areas of concern identified by either/or/both the Parish/Congregation and the candidates for the incumbency.

7.2.7 At a suitable opportunity after the Incumbent’s arrival the Incumbent and the Deacon(s) will meet to discuss the deacons current covenant. The conversation ought to include such topics as the deacon’s role in the parish and ministry in the larger community; the lines of the deacon’s accountability to the Bishop, the Incumbent, and the Church Committee. The discussion should also include the topics of how the Incumbent and the deacon(s) might work together, agreed upon steps to resolve tension or differences should they arise, the liturgical roles of the priest, deacon and laity and how they are enacted in that Parish/Congregation.

7.2.8 A new Incumbency brings the possibility of change in responsibilities. The Deacon’s covenant is therefore to be renegotiated after the first six months of the new Incumbent’s arrival. The Diaconal Commission is available as a resource for this process.

7.2.9 Deacons who have been members of the parish for many years know a substantial amount of Parish/Congregational history. Deacons can be a valuable resource who should only impart information when consulted or when not to do so would cause the new Incumbent grief or embarrassment.

7.2.10 At all times the Bishop is responsible for supporting the Deacons and safeguarding the continuity of their ministry/ministries. If a deacon’s covenant with a Parish/Congregation is not to be renewed, the Bishop will make every effort to either resolve the issues around the non-renewal of the covenant or relocate the Deacon in another parish.

7.3 If there is a candidate for Diaconal orders in the Parish:

7.3.1 It is understood that the candidate may continue with the education programme of their choice and to attend the Kootenay School of Ministry formation events during the search and selection process of a new Incumbent.

7.3.2 During the search process the personnel committee will engage in conversations with candidates for the incumbency about the role and function of a deacon.

7.3.2 The diaconal candidate may continue with her/his education and formation events but generally may not proceed to the next step of the discernment process until the new Incumbent has been in the Parish for six (6) months.

7.3.4 The new Incumbent will need to enter into a number of conversations with the Bishop, the Parish and Wardens, the candidate and possibly the Diaconal Commission, as to her/his understanding of the role and function of a Deacon and his/her willingness to support the candidate in the quest for ordination. At a suitable opportunity after the Incumbent’s arrival the Incumbent and the candidate will meet, to discuss the candidate’s current status in the Diaconal programme and whether or not the new Incumbent is willing for the candidate to proceed in the process to ordination.

7.4 If someone wishes to present themselves for candidacy:

7.4.1 Potential candidates may make inquiries of the Diaconal Commission, while the Parish is searching for a new Incumbent. They may also begin an education programme during this time.

7.4.2 They may not apply for candidacy or in any way formally enter the Diaconal Programme until the Incumbent has been in place for six months.

7.5 Policy for an Ordained Deacon moving into or within the Diocese of Kootenay

7.5.1 If an already ordained Deacon moves into, or changes communities within the Diocese of Kootenay, the following steps will apply:

7.5.2 The Deacon will meet with the Bishop to discuss the possibility of serving in the Diocese of Kootenay, or serving in a new community within the Diocese.

7.5.3 If the Deacon wishes to serve in the new parish, he/she must take a suitable length of time to examine the possibilities of an appropriate personal diaconal ministry. The Deacon must discuss the wish to serve with the Incumbent and Wardens. This discussion will include information about the Deacon’s proposed ministry and examination into how it fits with the diakonia of the Parish.

7.5.4 If the Incumbent is willing to have a Deacon serve in the Parish, the Bishop must interview the Deacon. At this point, the Deacon ought to discuss with the Incumbent and Wardens forming a support group for the Deacon.

7.5.5 If the Bishop is willing to have the Deacon serve in the Diocese, the Diaconal Commission will then interview the Deacon. This interview will focus on all aspects of the Deacon’s understanding of the Diaconate, and particularly on her/his training, formation, and education. (In the case of Deacons ordained in the Diocese of Kootenay, moving to a new Parish, the interview with the Diaconal Commission will not apply, unless the Commission is requested by either the Incumbent or the Bishop to do an interview.)

7.5.6 The Commission may make recommendations that will help the Deacon develop in areas, which the Commission feels, are missing from the training, formation, understanding and education of the Deacon.

7.5.7 If there is not a Deacon already in place in the Parish, the Parish will go through a Diaconal Parish training process. The discernment/support group will need to meet, deliberate, and then send the Parish recommendation form to the Diaconal Commission.

7.5.8 If there is a Deacon already in place in the Parish, the Incumbent and Wardens will decide if they think the Parish needs another training session. If the decision is not to do the training, the discernment/support group will still be required to meet, deliberate and send the Parish recommendation form to the Diaconal Commission.

7.5.9 If the Parish recommendation is positive then there will be a commissioning service that welcomes the Deacon and the Deacon’s ministry to the Parish. The Diaconal Commission will attend that service to present the Deacon and the Bishop will be the presider, unless the Bishops circumstances and schedule dictate otherwise.

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