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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Summer 2022 issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor

Revd Liz is a transitional deacon and, God willing, will be ordained priest next July.

The defining charism of the deacon is that of service. At the service to ordain deacons at Portsmouth Cathedral, there was a particularly moving moment when Bishop Jonathan washed the feet of the deacons to be. This is reminiscent of Christ washing the feet of his disciples at the last supper in an act of servitude and love. This is a rather moving addition to the liturgy of ordination which does not appear in the Church of England rite. I believe it may have been an innovation introduced in the Diocese of Portsmouth by Bishop Timothy Bavin some years ago. Significantly, it is a reminder of the servant nature of the deacon, but also that the charism of servanthood continues after one has been ordained priest, or consecrated as Bishop. Indeed, we are all, lay or ordained, expected to be servants of Jesus Christ, the one who ‘…came not to be served, but to serve’ (Mark 10:45).

The Liturgical Role of the Deacon

Whilst a deacon cannot celebrate the Eucharist, she/he plays a key role in the liturgy, specifically:

• Carrying the Book of the Gospels into church at the beginning of the Eucharist.

•  Calling the community to confess their sins.

•  Proclaiming the Gospel.

•  Preaching.

•  Leading intercessions.

•  Leading the community in sharing the sign of peace.

•  Receiving the liturgical gifts and preparing the altar.

•  Assisting the priest at the altar.

•  Sending the community out at the end of the service to ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’

At the discretion of the parish priest a deacon may baptise, solemnise marriage and conduct funerals. The deacon may lead other services such as Morning and Evening Prayer.

Pastoral and Prayer Ministry

Since the historic role of the deacon was to care for the poor, needy and sick, it is natural that the deacon has a particular role in outreach and pastoral care, and to be the visible expression of God’s unconditional love. The deacon shares in this ministry with the priest, since the priest is also a deacon.

We are blessed to have, in Revd Liz, someone with a heart for mission and ministry, grounded in a deep and reflective faith. I am already greatly enjoying working with her in the parish, and have confidence that you will continue to welcome her to St George’s, and hold her in your prayers as she continues her ministerial training in our parish. Prayers for me, as her training incumbent, would also be greatly appreciated!

With love and prayers

Fr Colin

What is a Deacon?

Having just welcomed Revd Liz Quinn to the parish after her ordination to the diaconate, I thought it would be apposite to explain what the role of the deacon is, both historically and in the church of today.

The diaconate is one of the three historic orders of ministry in the church: deacons, priests and bishop. These three orders have scriptural foundation (Philippians 1; 1 Timothy 3), and from this the distinctive roles of each have developed in the tradition of the Church.

In the early Church the office of a deacon was a distinctive ministry, but in time it became a transitional order, generally pertaining to the first year of ordained ministry, as a kind of ‘apprenticeship’ for the priesthood. More recently, in many Christian denominations (including the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church) there has been an understanding that some people are called by God to be permanent deacons, sometimes referred to as distinctive deacons. In our own deanery we have a distinctive deacon in Revd Kate McFarlane, who is the Deacon in Charge of Hart Plain Church.