What is a Deacon?
It is the special responsibility of deacons to 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 liturgical 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.
Deacons entrust their gifts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to empower others to name, claim and engage fully the work God gives us all to do. Those who sense they might be called to ordination as a deacon demonstrate servant ministry in the world, either in an institutional setting or in other forms of service. Their calling is clearly rooted in faith and recognized in actions.
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. Tution information can be found here.
- Read Paths to Discipleship, for a broader outline of discernment and formation in the Diocese of Virginia.
- 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:
- 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 (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
- Friday, November 17, 2017; Mayo House, Richmond
- Friday, February 9, 2018; Mayo House, Richmond
- Friday, May 11, 2018; Mayo House, Richmond
The next class of the Deacons' School will begin in October 2018 or January 2019. Seekers and aspirants are encouraged to continue with discernment and completing their postulancy application--the process is not on hold. To ensure there is a critical mass of students to form the body of the Deacons' School and to maintain the communal integrity of the school, the Deacons' School welcomes a new class every two years, rather than every year.
The second class of the Deacons' School began Friday-Sunday, July 8-10, 2016. All students were accepted for postulancy prior to enrolling. Full list of dates and locations for the 2016-2018 class.
Postulancy Application Materials
- Postulancy Application Checklist
- Initial Application to Commission on Ministry
- Personal History & Reflections
- Background Check Instructions
- Medical Examination Form
- Psychological Evaluation Cover Letter
- Vestry Letter of Support for Postulancy