You have no doubt encountered a deacon during your time at WPC—even if you didn’t realize it at the time! You may have gotten a note or a phone call, enjoyed a cup of coffee between services, received some beautiful flowers or a prayer shawl, attended a memorial service, learned about the church in a new member class…the list goes on and on. But maybe you’re not sure exactly what deacons are or what they do for the church. The Presbyterian Book of Order refers to deacons as “The Ministry of Compassion and Service” and cites the Scriptural basis for their ministry: “sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress.” That is a tall order! At WPC, the deacons do a lot of the “behind-the-scenes” work of caring for our congregation. Of course, all of us in the congregation are called to care for and minister to each other, but deacons take an extra step by committing to serve the church for a three-year term in specific ways. In addition to connecting with church members one-on-one when they need friendly care, deacons serve in “mission” groups that focus on a particular need in the church:
- Welcoming and teaching new members
- Sending cards and letters acknowledging difficulties or celebrations
- Visiting homebound members with a gift of flowers
- Hosting our coffee fellowship, receptions, and other gatherings
- Consoling grieving members by arranging memorial services and receptions
Being a deacon is very rewarding; by serving the congregation, deacons feel they are serving Christ and showing God’s love. Even if you’re not able to commit the time to become a deacon, you can still help. Many of the mission groups depend on volunteers to fill their ranks on an occasional basis. You can deliver flowers, help with Sunday coffee hour, bake cookies for memorial receptions, donate greeting cards, direct traffic in the parking lot for a memorial service, or cook pancakes for the Shrove Tuesday supper.