The creation of this page was initially prompted by a conversation about ways to reduce / remove barriers that make it more difficult for young people to pursue a vocation as a deacon.
In 2016, at the Triennial, these and a few other young-ish deacons sat down at lunch to have a conversation about why it was so difficult for younger people to become deacons. Each of us felt it was almost a fluke that we had made it all the way through the process and been ordained. We felt that there were likely many others who have gifts suited to being a deacon who were running up against road-blocks. If any of those road-blocks were removable, then we might clear the way for more people to become deacons.
Here are several barriers (and possible solutions) we brainstormed in that initial session. They’re grouped somewhat chronologically. The first category relate to a person initially encountering a deacon – or the idea of what a deacon is and does – and considering whether it might fit. The second category involves the formal training. The third category focuses on the period after ordination and trying to make sure new deacons don’t burn themselves out.
A larger group of deacons – of all ages – discussed these barriers and proposed more ideas the next day in a workshop, including the idea of a young deacons’ task force to follow up on all the ideas being generated. Here are notes from that workshop, including links to supporting materials, and some participants’ comments.
We confirmed with the Association for Episcopal Deacons that it would be possible to create a task force focusing on issues related to younger deacons. To define what the task force would be tasked with doing, we created a survey to identify and prioritize projects to try and accomplish.
Here is a summary of results from that survey, based on almost 40 responses. The first column of charts shows how high a priority certain tasks were; the second column estimates how difficult each task might be to accomplish, and the third asks for predictions on the amoung of impact each project might have, if we were to accomplish it.
These appeared to be some of the top priorities in the three areas discussed:
- Deacon page and more young deacon content on TEC website
- Young Deacon page / content on AED website
- More content available on the web about deacons by deacons
- Resources related to diocesan budgeting for deacon formation expenses (sample budget request, sample Dio resolution, GC resolution?)
- Collect, curate and disseminate best practices for care/keeping of deacons
- Ditto for resources related to self-care
- Work with CPG (and/or Fund) on financial products
In late 2016, the task force got to work. We are focusing on these priorities to start with.
Board report – June 2017