Association for Episcopal Deacons

Association for Episcopal Deacons

by the Rev. Canon Tina Campbell, President of the Association for Episcopal Deacons 

An association of persons and dioceses within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada whose mission is to increase participation and involvement of all baptized persons in Christ’s diaconal ministry, especially by promoting the diaconate as a full and equal order.

(The above is the mission statement for the Association for Episcopal Deacons, AED. Formerly known as the North American Association of the Diaconate, the Association changed its name two years ago in order to reflect the international membership of the Episcopal Church.)

AED most recently hosted its triennial Assembly in Williamsburg, VA. The theme was Jamestown: A Mere 400 Years. Weaving a New World View. We brought together presenters Sarah Eagle Heart, (from the Indigenous Ministries office), Katrina Browne (producer of the 2008 documentary “Traces of the Trade” dealing with the legacy of slavery) and Eric Law (author and founder of the Kaleidoscope Institute in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles). This gathering offered the opportunity for deacons from around the globe (we had an attendee from Belgium!) to meet, enjoy fellowship, learn about how diaconal ministry is lived out in the Church and to engage the wisdom and experience of our three presenters.

The Assembly is just one way in which AED supports and promotes the diaconate. We also host the annual Archdeacons/Formation Directors conference. This gathering enables leaders in diaconal ministry to network and to learn. From these conferences have come some of the canonical changes we’ve seen in The Life and Work of Deacons, Lifelong Learning, and competency based formation ideas. We have had speakers and workshops on such topics as Disaster Preparedness, Community Organizing and church use of Social Media. Archdeacon Cookie Clark has regularly attended this event.

Additionally AED brings a diaconal presence at General Convention providing deacons and creating Prayers of the People for the liturgies and staffing a booth to raise awareness of diaconal ministry around the Church. In 2012 the “Deacons’ Resolved” gained churchwide attention as we supported a resolution to have all church meetings, for one year, engage the question, "How will what we are doing here affect or involve people living in poverty?"

The Association also supports regional gatherings. In June of 2014 the deacons of Province VIII will be invited to attend a conference in Vancouver, Washington. Details of that gathering are in process.

A recent AED development was the program, The Seven, a mentored experience in diaconal ministry for young adults. This part-time, 10-month experience connects young adults engaged in service and justice ministries with Episcopal Deacon mentors. While some may come to hear a call to the Diaconate all have the opportunity to engage meaningful work and reflection with an experienced deacon.

The Association publishes a quarterly newsletter, Diakoneo, and a Domestic Poverty newsletter, Seeking and Serving, which highlights ministry around the Church. We compile and publish an annual directory of all the deacons of the Episcopal Church and we keep a necrology of the deceased. AED is the most complete repository of these statistics.

As noted in our mission statement, AED exists to support Deacons and the diaconal ministry of all believers. If you are interested in learning more I encourage you to visit our website www.episcopaldeacons.org or visit us on Facebook.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Aileen Aidnik wrote:
Well written, Tina! Thank you for providing such an in-depth view of the work of AED. Looking forward to hearing more about the June 2014 gathering!

Thu, July 18, 2013 @ 4:17 PM

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