Deacons: Training Process
5.1 A candidate seeking ordination to the Diaconate in the Diocese of Kootenay is expected to have successfully completed, or have covenanted to complete, a programme of theological study acceptable to the Bishop. This may be obtained through:
the Education for Ministry course,
the Canterbury College courses for the Community of Deacons,
the introductory year for the Bachelor or Masters degree in theology at an approved theological school, or equivalent certification in theological studies.
5.2 The candidate will also have successfully completed the following list of courses offered through the Kootenay School of Ministry:
Anglican Theology and Identity
Equipping Others for Ministry
5.3 After completing this required programme, a candidate in diaconal formation will:
have comprehensive knowledge of the Holy Scriptures;
be able to outline the history of the biblical record, and identify the historical, social, and geographic context of the Bible;
be aware of the process of canonization of scripture, including the reasons for the development of the Canon;
be familiar with various approaches to scriptural interpretation, and be able to identify and defend his/her approach in the context of his/her tradition
be able to identify and use exegetical tools, and be knowledgeable about Biblical scholarship
be able to identify prophetic and servant hood themes in scripture, and relate those themes, in preaching and daily ministry, to the needs of the world and the church’s response to those needs
be aware of significant differences in the themes and approaches in the four Gospels, and know how to model the message of the Gospels in his/her servant and liturgical ministries.
be able to articulate basic historical periods of the Christian faith, from its origins through to today
be well grounded in the development of the Anglican tradition and liturgy
have a basic knowledge of the spiritual formation in the church
have a clear understanding and appreciation of the traditions of other Christian communions and world religions, since ministry to the poor and the oppressed is inherently ecumenical, and indeed interfaith.
have an understanding of sacramental theology
have an understanding of the development of Trinitarian theology and Christology
5.4 There will be nine educational courses organized around the following foci:
One course to review of the history and development of the diaconate, looking at the first centuries of the church, and the changes seen in this and other denominations, from that time to the present. This session will also explore the various areas of diaconal ministry, the call of all Christians to serve others and the role of the diaconate in that call, how to look at issues for the application of Christian belief and assistance, seeing the deacon as a bridge between the church and the world.
Foundational Theology is an introduction to theological method, with a focus upon critical thinking skills, and the basic touchstone topics of Christian theology: Trinity, Christology, and salvation. The approach will be both historical and systematic, so that participants encounter the main streams of thought in Western Christianity, ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary. Significant attention will be given to the development of the Nicene Creed and its explication at the Council of Chalcedon. This course will be particularly attentive to the relevance of this material for priestly and diaconal ministry, with assignments oriented toward preaching and pastoral situations.
Anglican Theology and Identity
Anglican theology is theology that belongs to the whole church, but has a particular character that is rooted in its historical development. This course, therefore, seeks to elucidate the nature of Anglicanism through investigation of works by Anglican theologians and discussion of Anglican history. We will address the nature of Anglican understandings of the church, orders, and sacraments. Canadian Anglican history (with a focus on British Columbia) will be a significant part of the course, as will the Anglican Covenant and contemporary expressions of Anglicanism worldwide.
Ministry of Evangelism Today
This course aims to provide an understanding of the theology and practice of evangelism that resonates with Anglicanism today. Course content will include: biblical and theological foundations, starting with the mission of God (missio dei) and the content of “the good news;” Jesus as an evangelist; evangelism as process; evangelism as a dimension of healthy parish life; how to talk about God; the place of evangelism in a pluralistic society; and how to help a congregation embrace the ministry of evangelism with confidence, joy and fruitfulness.
One course which will outline the formation of a rule of life. This course may include instruction about:
praying a daily office;
regular involvement in public worship;
regular reading of scripture, meditation, and personal prayer;
developing a personal stewardship that supports the work of the church in the local parish, diocese, nation and internationally.
receiving personal spiritual direction on a regular basis.
A candidate needs to demonstrate the ability and willingness to help other persons form and nurture their own spiritual growth, through support and study groups. A candidate will learn the history of spiritual formation in the church. He/she will need to be aware of major figures in spiritual classics through the centuries. This course will include a discussion regarding the basic skills necessary to becoming a spiritual director; so that candidates will know what training, they may need if this is a ministry to which they feel called. It will also help the candidate balance her/his secular vocation, ministry, and family life in a healthy manner.
Equipping Others for Ministry
One course, which will assist the candidate to form, educate, and support the people of God for the ministries to which they are called at baptism. This will require an ability to recruit, motivate, and inspire lay participation. The candidate will need skills in effective communication, in implementation and evaluation of projects, recruiting and caring for volunteers, and in facilitating group process. Time will be spent looking at the various organizational structures of our church, so that the candidate will know what resources are available to them. Since a deacon’s ministry is primarily a ministry of service to the world, we seek to form deacons who serve as spokespersons for the apostolic faith, by working to alleviate poverty, misery, and ignorance, and by actively seeking peace and justice and by empowering others to do the same.
This course seeks to cultivate an awareness of contemporary social issues and a desire to wrestle with them. Topics will include: ethical theories, the challenge of change, skills for theological and pastoral reflection on ethical issues, and ways of preparing others to wrestle with moral dilemmas. Experiential group work, using case studies, will enable students to develop practical skills and a deeper awareness of ethical issues.
Diaconal Role in Liturgy and Homiletics
This course will introduce the candidate to liturgy, and homiletics, with particular attention to the deacon’s role. The course will include both theory and practice. Candidates will prepare and deliver a sermon for critique for the weekend. The weekend will follow the liturgical year, demonstrating the liturgical role of the deacon throughout. It will include instruction in the taking of reserve sacrament to the sick, other pastoral services, and the preparation and leadership of non- sacramental worship for a variety of contexts. Primary to this area of instruction will be the history, theology, and use of the church’s principal liturgical books and other authorized resources, with particular attention to the deacon’s traditional functions in all the liturgies of the Church.
This course will focus on the pastoral care of congregations with particular emphasis on leadership of congregations including strategic planning, visioning, systems and change theories, and conflict management. This course will explore group dynamics, supporting volunteers and self care including management of time and stress. It will include a personal assessment of the candidates own conflict style and its strengths and liabilities. Candidates need the skills to both see the bigger picture and to make decisions under fire. They must come to understand that leadership is not about personality but about presence, and the capacity to foster collective action.
The following will be a pre-ordination day with the Bishop:
Diocesan Policies and Standards (1 day)
One day with the Bishop which will address the unique community and ministry of deacons and Diocesan requirements for ministry. The purpose of the day will be to communicate and clarify Diocesan policies and requirements of both the Ordinand and the Parish in which the Ordinand will serve. The day will also begin the process of writing the covenant, which will set out the scope and nature of the work of the deacon in the Parish.
It will be necessary for representatives of the candidate’s discernment/support group(s), the incumbent and wardens, to attend this session.