Three of the CCS staff – Lori, Ted, and Ann – were at the national gathering of DUCC (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada) last week. Ted reports…
The DUCC meeting mingled the past, present and future in a creative manner. Of course, we supported one another in the present through community building, social connection, and site outings and tours. We, also, explored diaconal history in a rich variety of song parody, character drama, art installations, scripture study and panel presentations. Check out this video to see how one group used a Joni Mitchell song to recall the contribution of the Massey Family to Canadian diaconia.
From these educational pieces we asked questions — emerging from the historical periods — as we examined the future represented by the major reports that are coming before General Council in August. Examples:
- As the church continues to discuss diaconal ministry and diaconal identity, what biblical images of diaconia need to be maintained? Jettisoned?
- Through the centuries the diaconate has challenged empire by upholding alternative visions; in what ways do we continue that prophetic tradition in response to this document/report?
- During much of the history of the church the diaconate went underground without official recognition or status; in what ways would the General council reports lead and result in the work of diaconia going underground? Encourage and support a distinct and recognized diaconate?
- In various European cities, the Reformers organized ministry in a divergent ways; how is a diversity of approaches to the diaconate explored or espoused in the GC documents?
- The restoration and revival of the diaconate in the 19th century was in response to the cultural chaos of the industrial revolution and widespread war; in what ways do the reports respond to the context and chaos of our times?
In the end it proved to be a stimulating and integrative process that allowed us to hold the discussion about the future of the diaconate in the United Church while being grounded in a bigger story of our history and identity.