Have you ever wondered if you are being called to the ministry of deacons?
The diaconate is a full and equal order of ministry in The Episcopal Church. Deacons work as a link between the church and the world, discerning people’s needs, hopes, and concerns, empowering faith communities to respond, speaking the truth in love, and encouraging the sacred and broken to enter into relationship with each other.
The Diocese of Washington has over 25 active deacons serving in congregations across the diocese–and God willing, we will ordain a few more this fall. We’ve come a long, fruitful way in developing this ministry, yet there is room for further growth and a hope that, one day, we’ll have deacons serving in every parish.
If you have wondered about a call to the diaconate, we invite you to mark your calendar and join us for an in-person Workshop Day on the Diaconate on Saturday, October 29 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (location to be determined)
The Venerable L. Sue von Rautenkranz, Archdeacon of the Diocese of Washington, along with members of the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee, deacons, and priests with experience serving with deacons, will share their knowledge of diaconal ministry as well as practical next-steps in a day filled with presentations, small group information sessions, and worship.
This event is required for:
- Anyone discerning a call to be a deacon
- Sponsoring clergy of person(s) discerning
- Lay representative who would serve as a member of the local discernment committee of person(s) discerning
- Congregations wishing to apply for a deacon
If you believe you may be called to the diaconate, it is never too early to be in conversation with your priest and we encourage you to read more about the process here.
For further information about this day, please contact The Venerable L. Sue von Rautenkranz or fill out this form and we will be in touch with you about registration and other information.
The Episcopal Church has four orders: the laity, deacons, priests, and bishops. People entering each order take vows unique to that order. For the laity, these vows are first taken at Baptism and are renewed at a Service of Confirmation. For those entering the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopate, the vows are taken at a Service of Ordination. An episcopate is the office or term of office for a bishop.
Each year, most dioceses of The Episcopal Church gather their clergy during Holy Week for a Eucharistic liturgy that includes the prayers and promises of the renewal of their vows and the blessing of two oils.
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is unusual in that we offer the opportunity for members of all four orders to recommit to their vows during this service – called, appropriately enough – the Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils.
This year, as we collectively begin to explore and imagine life without pandemic restrictions, Bishop Mariann invites all who wish – laity, deacons, priests, (and bishops!) – to participate in a Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service.
We’ll offer two services:
- Washington National Cathedral | 12:00 p.m. | Tuesday, April 12 | in person and online
- All Faith, Charlotte Hall | 11:00 a.m. | Wednesday, April 13 | in person only
If you are a layperson, please come in person or watch the Cathedral’s livestream of the service. No registration required.
Clergy will gather for a simple lunch with their bishop following the service and are requested to RSVP by Monday, March 28 so we have an accurate headcount.
The Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service has roots dating back to 200 BCE and was a part of the liturgical reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. At one time the custom was to hold the service on Maundy Thursday, but for practical reasons in more recent times, the service now usually occurs earlier in Holy Week.
Two oils are blessed during the service. One, oleum sacrum or Chrism oil, is used for baptism, and may only be blessed by a bishop in our practice. The other is oleum infirmorum or oil for the sick. Oleum infirmorum is used for anointing those who are ill or near death. This oil may be blessed by a priest, but traditionally is done by a bishop.
In some dioceses, though not in this one, a third oil – called sacrum catechumenocum – may be blessed and used to anoint those entering the Catechumenant. The Catechumenant is a time of instruction on the faith for adults prior to baptism.
The Ven. L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Archdeacon and Diocesan Liturgist