News & Events

Synod 2015 and diaconal ministry

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Dear Deacons:

This is a significant year for deacons in the Christian Reformed Church.  The 2015 Task Force report approved some important principles for diaconal ministry in the 21st century.  The report addressed the role of deacons in congregations and communities as well as the role of elders. And, Synod approved deacon delegation at Classis & Synod.

So, what’s up with deacons going to Classis & Synod? And, what’s up with the upcoming changes to the Church Order? I will try to summarize some of the more significant decisions. Please feel free to call DMC staff and Board of Directors if you have any questions.

  • Both Deacons and Elders give leadership to distinctive areas of ministry. However, deacons and elders also have some common areas of ministry. (see changes to Article 12 & 25).  “It is not simply that the church has deacons, but rather it is the case that the whole church is itself called to diakonia (works unto others)” (2013 Report page 4 & Ephesians 4:11-13).  Deacons are important ministry leaders.
    • Implication? Deacons are not to just perform diaconal ministry on behalf of the church, but to mobilize and equip the church to fulfill its calling.
  • The proposed changes to the relationship of elders and deacons point to the importance of the two offices working together for the sake of God’s mission. The CRCNA agencies are committed to supporting our congregations to strengthen their missional and incarnational presence in our communities.
    • Implication? Dialogue is needed at the Council level and Classis level meetings on how to strengthen the partnership of these two leadership roles. Contact DMC staff for suggestions.
  • The 2015 Report was also guided by the ‘principle of parity.’ This parity is best demonstrated by diaconal presence in the major assemblies of the church.  This is “not about equal representation but about the full representation of the whole church which these offices represent” (2015 Report page 329).  For this reason, we recommend that each classis examine their agendas to reflect these new changes (see changes to Article 34).
    • Implication? Diaconal involvement should be invited to shape agendas at Council and Classis.

At many classes across the country, deacons have already been included.   But with the Church Order changes adopted by this synod, each church now needs to send an elder, deacon, and a minister to classis meetings unless “great distance or other weighty reasons” prevent them from doing so.

What implications will this have for your leadership role, your church, and the denomination as a whole?  Together we hope to shape the answers to this question.  So, let’s continue the conversation.  Let us know how we can support you along in this journey at Classis or at your local church.

-written by Hans Kater, National Director, Diaconal Ministries Canada

 

for more on Synod 2015, click here

DMC Job Opportunity: Justice Mobilizer

Posted by | Doing Justice, News & Events | No Comments

Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC) is looking for a part-time Justice Mobilizer to lead and coordinate our justice strategies.  This position involves collaboration with internal staff, CRCNA agency staff, as well as interaction with external organizations.  This is a contract position for 15 hours per week, reporting to the National Director in the Burlington Ontario office.  Interested applicants are invited to call the DMC office at 1-800-730-3490, click here for a copy of the job description or email mrobins@crcna.org to submit an application.  The closing date for applications is June 15, 2015.

Photo on front page slider is courtesy of Woodynook Christian Reformed Church (depicted: Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe on the opening night of the RE-forming Art Tour hosted by the church)

 

How do Justice and Faith Intersect?

Posted by | Doing Justice, News & Events | No Comments

“In Christ’s name, the deacons relieve victims of injustice.”  This is the description that many of us hear each spring in the CRC ordination form as new men and women transition into diaconal work.

“Injustice” is a word that, for many of us, brings to mind a variety of images ranging from the government and politics to retribution, the poor and justice organizations.  So what do members of the CRC think about justice? And how do they relate it to their faith? Recently results were released from a research study to explore the relationship of justice and faith. This study was carried out collaboratively by the CRC, the Institute for Christian Studies and the Centre for Community Based Research.

More than 85% of those surveyed said that they “strongly” or “somewhat agree” that “being a Christian requires me to pursue justice.”  However, the research study brought into evidence differing understandings of justice and emphases. It also spoke to various ways that congregations may be mobilized in this area.  It may mean creating a clearer Biblical vision for justice, or seeking opportunities to challenge injustice, or raising awareness of unjust circumstances locally and globally.

Have a look at the results:

Read the report and consider the following possibilities: 

  • Encourage your church to tithe their sermons/small group studies to include the theme of justice.
  • Pray for hope-filled restoration of unjust circumstances around the globe.
  • Discern how you may contribute to the well-being of neighbours in your local community who experience injustice.

Next year, there will be opportunities for interaction and dialogue around the findings of the research projects in different communities and forums across Canada.  Keep an eye out for more information.

In the meantime, let us know how you have come to be encouraged and empowered for justice as an integral part of your church’s faith journey.

(by Katie Karsten, Justice Mobilizer, Diaconal Ministries Canada)

 

A Note from Executive Director Hans Kater

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Welcome to our new website!

You are looking at the results of a new communications strategy that is aligned with the goals of our 2014 ministry plan. Our aim with this new strategy is to communicate more efficiently and effectively with deacons and ministry leaders across Canada. There are 5 things I would like to draw your attention to as you explore the site.

1. Identity Update

We have a new logo! Since we were already creating a new website, it made sense to also evaluate our logo. We have decided to include our full name Diaconal Ministries Canada on the new logo rather than the acronym DMC. It is more descriptive of who we are and what we do. We hope you like it.

2. The Connect Page

There are now several ways you can connect with us and keep in touch. This blog is one of them. We hope you’ll bookmark the e-Quip blog and return to it often as a source of guidance and inspiration. You may also subscribe to the e-Quip Newsletter for monthly compilations of our blog posts. The e-Quip Blog will feature stories of transformation from our staff and Diaconal Ministry Developers. It is intended to keep you connected to the latest news from exciting ministries in diaconates across Canada. It is our hope and prayer that God will use this blog to inspire and enable you to share Christ’s mercy in new and exciting ways in your own church neighbourhoods. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter. That’s right. We’re dipping our toes into the waters of social media. We want to reach you where you are online, and since Facebook and Twitter are two of the the most popular social media platforms, we’re starting there. So, if you’re on either or both, be sure to follow us and you’ll soon start to receive status updates and tweets highlighting our blog and other news from Diaconal Ministries Canada. Visit our Connect page to learn more about how to keep in touch.

3. Simple new navigation

Our new website still provides you with in-depth information, tools and other resources to enhance your diaconal work. The top menu provides information about our organization, including background and contact information and a Donate Now link to make it easy for people to support our ministry. The main menu is organized around our 3 key objectives: Engaging Communities, Equipping Deacons, and Doing Justice. We encourage you to explore these links to learn more about who we are and what we do. At the bottom of each page of the site, you’ll find a list of our latest blog posts, Quick Links to our most popular pages, links to our eQuip newsletter sign up form and social media links, and a Get in Touch form.

We are excited about these changes and the opportunity to improve our ministry, but we also know that without Christ and his blessing we can do nothing.

We pray that God will continue to use all of you as his hands and feet to share Christ’s love and transform communities. And we pray that God will use our efforts to communicate in the same way that he used the letters of the apostles to equip and encourage each other in the Early days of the church.