Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World

Article excerpt

Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World. By Rosalind Brown. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse Publishing, 2005. xv + 139 pp. $19.95 (paper).

Rosalind Brown is a priest in the Church of England, ordained in the Episcopal Church while in the U.S. as a member of a religious community. Though not a deacon herself, Brown has been at the forefront of research and writing on that topic in England. She has brought attention and encouragement for the establishment of the diaconate as a permanent part of the Church of England structure. She was the chair and lead writer of The Distinctive Diaconate, a report to the Diocese of Salisbury, perhaps the best rationale and recommendation for a diaconal program in any diocese.

Because there are few deacons in England, and active programs are not yet in place, Being a Deacon Today views deacons historically and as played out in other countries, especially the United States. Brown provides extensive theological underpinnings and sources for the value and place of the ministry of deacons in today's church. Indeed, these are the strengths of the book and make it worthwhile reading for those seeking the broad view of what deacons are all about. Her view is summarized tersely, "The deacon, whose ministry is in the church, is charged with ministry that transgresses its boundaries, that steps across the threshold of the church and breaks itself open in the world which God so loves" (p. 17). She then notes that much diaconal ministry is local, and goes largely unnoticed.

The second part of the volume looks at diaconal roles, but there are few specific illustrations of how individual deacons have carried out these roles. Again the discussion is from the historical perspective and draws upon the writings of some very well known authors. …

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