The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective: Ecclesiology, Liturgy and Practice

D. Michael Jackson
ISBN: 978-1789590357
Sacristy Press 2019
Paperback 216 pp £19.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £18.00

This excellent volume of articles is the fruit of an international conference on the deacon’s ministry held in Canada in May 2018. As an ecumenical exploration of diaconate, the contributors paint a diverse landscape which includes the Episcopal and Anglican Churches, the Methodists, Lutherans, the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The UK perspective is captured by Anglican Deacon Rosalind Brown who tackles the vexed question of the distinctiveness of the deacon’s ministry over and against ‘the Russian Doll’ model of sacred orders whereby inside every bishop is a priest, inside of whom is a deacon. The transitional diaconate is perceived as no more than a stepping-stone to higher orders and entails ordination to a ministry to which the candidate has not felt called. This downgrades the permanent diaconate to an inferior order, an ecclesiastical reality evident in the Roman Catholic Church when bishops approach bereaved widower deacons to suggest that they might now perhaps consider a vocation to the presbyterate.

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