“…seven of good standing, men full of the Spirit and wisdom” Acts 6:3
There are some church traditions that be can be traced to the very beginning. The sacramental practices of Holy Communion and baptism have always been hallmarks of the church. Liturgical actions such as scripture reading and prayer have been a part of worship services since the first days of the church. Acts of grace and service such as attending to the sick and feeding the hungry have been a part of our faith from the early days. The Deaconate is a structural tradition that has endured and is revealed in the pages of scripture.
Deacons were first instituted in Acts 6 and they were born out of conflict. The followers of Jesus were providing food for the widows in their town and tension began to build between the gentile and Jewish widows. Things were starting to go sideways and the Twelve Apostles knew that they needed help. They encouraged the gathered community to select a handful of individuals who were of good standing, blessed with the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom. Seven individuals were selected were called to serve, which is written in the ancient Greek as “diakonia.” The Deacons were to serve the widows and the community in order so that the Twelve Apostles could serve all with the word.
First born from conflict, the very presence of the Deaconate is a testimony to the redemptive work of God. From the very beginning the Deacons were called to help unify the body of Christ and to strengthen the church through their service. Deacons were, and are, commissioned and blessed by the church for their vital and sacred work. Deacons play an essential role in the church as they assist with sacraments, visit the isolated, welcome visitors, and during COVID at CUC, the Deaconate enacted health and safety measures.
On Saturday I had the honor of meeting with our Deaconate. It is honor to be with a group of people who care deeply for the church and who are eager to act on their faith. In the Deaconate, I see volunteers who embody the adage, “to believe is to care and to care is to do.” In the Deaconate meetings, I hear more than just logistics, I hear dreams of what the Holy Spirit will do through Central Union.
If you are looking for a way to connect with others, to act upon your faith, and to grow through service then contact me or our Deaconate Chair, Martha Balkin, so that we can tell you more about the honor of serving on the Deaconate.