The Path to the Diaconate
Deacons empower others to name, claim and engage the work God gives us all to do. They interpret to the Church the needs, concerns and hopes of the world. Through baptism, all Christians are called to make Christ’s redemptive love known through servant ministry. Deacons are ordained to exercise this ministry, particularly to the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely. Deacons model servant ministry in their daily life and work, and are icons of servant ministry through their roles in worship. At all times, by their life and teaching, deacons are to show Christ’s people that in serving others they are serving Christ himself.
In the Diocese of Virginia, deacons are formed by the Deacons' School, a collaboration between our diocese and the Dioceses of Southern Virginia and Southwestern Virginia. Tuition information can be found here.
- Read Paths to Discipleship, for an outline of discernment and formation in the Diocese of Virginia.
- Read The Characteristics of Effective Clergy.
- Visit the Deacons' School website
- Guidelines for Bible journalling project for the Deacons' School students.
More on the Vocational Diaconate
- The ordination rites for deacons
- "Cross-Diocesan Formation & Joint Ordination" by Theresa Lewallen, Deacons' School alumna, from the November 2016 issue of Diakeoneo.
- The 2014 Virginia Episcopalian series on the Vocational Diaconate
- From the Deacons' School website: What is a Deacon? + Deacons in Action + On the Deacons' School
- For further reading, we recommend "Unexpected Consequences: The Diaconate Renewed."
Applying for Postulancy
Before applying for postulancy, seekers in the Diocese of Virginia spend time in community discerning what God is calling them to and how they might best answer that call. Information on vocational discernment.
Once the seeker's parish discernment committee completes its work, the seeker may begin applying for postulancy with the support of his/her presenting priest. The presenting priest should email Ed Keithly and Vicky Bickel (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com) to request a contact from the Committee on the Diaconate. The contact will assist the seeker in applying for postulancy.
Postulancy Interview Dates
Aspirants will be scheduled for an interview after the aspirant's contact to the Committee on the Diaconate affirms the aspirant is ready to go forward.
- Coming Soon: Fall 2019 postulancy interview dates
All students accepted as postulants for the vocational diaconate are automatically accepted to the Deacons' School; there isn't a separate application process. However, students must complete the Bible journalling project prior to the first retreat: Guidelines for the Bible journalling project.
Postulancy Application Materials
- Postulancy Application Checklist
- Initial Application to Commission on Ministry
- Personal History & Reflections
- Medical Examination Form
- Psychological Evaluation Cover Letter
- Vestry Letter of Support for Postulancy
- Oxford Background Check
- Request: Please email Vicky Bickel and include your full name and mailing address. If applicable, please note any name change in the past five years and the date of said change.
- Payment: The cost of the background check is $100. Please make out the check to the Diocese of Virginia and include the applicant’s name in the memo line. Payments may be paid by the aspirant or presenting parish, but it is ultimately the aspirant's responsibility to ensure payment. Address: The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia; C/O Vicky Bickel; 110 West Franklin St.; Richmond, VA 23220.