The ministry of Deacons as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. Persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment should be chosen for this ministry.
In the following section the Book of Order specifies that the ministry of Deacons is under the supervision and authority of the session. At Central the core of the ministry of Deacons is care of Central members and actives (those who are involved in the church but are not members) so that these persons are regularly remembered by Central, even if the person is unable to attend church. Other assignments may be given to the Deacons such as serving Communion, which they do at Central.
The Nominating Committee of the church nominates Deacons for a 3-year term. Their maximum length of consecutive service is six years. Deacons are elected by the congregation. After election, they are ordained and installed for their ministry. Various Biblical references support the ministry of Deacons, including Phil: 1:1; 1 Tim 3:8, 12; Rom 16:1; Acts 6.
Earl Johnson, Jr. wrote in his book, The Presbyterian Deacon (2014), that Deacons are “the caring arm of the church.” Johnson also says , “In many congregations, direct assistance to senior citizens is part of the Deacon portfolio.” This is true at Central.
The Board of Deacons at Central is expected to do regular contacts with those on the caring partner list, conduct specific tasks such as providing Thanksgiving and Easter baskets, handle luncheons and refreshments for funerals, and serve communion. Each year the Deacons decide the specific projects in which they engage but the regular caring partner contacts, distributing flowers after church, being available for funerals, and serving communion are constant expectations of the ministry of Deacons. Decisions regarding specific projects and accountability for reporting visits are made at the monthly meeting, which currently is the third Monday of every month at 6:00 p.m.
Specific expectations for Deacons to ensure those of the caring list are served include these:
- Engage as a care partner with his/her care contact, who are those persons identified by the Deacons as on the list to receive Deacon support. Typically this responsibility involves meeting with a care contact to support them and to develop a relationship with the person.
- Support contact with 1–3 care partners monthly
- Participate in regular training to ensure skills necessary to do the ministry
- Offer availability to respond to pastoral care emergencies when the pastor is unavailable
- Engage in training to respond to emergencies
- Celebrate the lives of persons no longer able to be active at Central.
2020–2022 Board of Deacons