Maybe “Deaconing” is Right for Me
Margaret Friesen describes the Ministering by Word and Example course that she took at the Centre for Christian Studies in 2016-2017 as, “One of the best courses I took in preparation for deaconing.”
“Deaconing” is a word she invented to indicate the actions of ministry she carries out as an ordained deacon at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church. Like many, Margaret came to “deaconing” in a roundabout way. She’s always had a connection to church, which she says was instrumental in helping her grow as a person of faith. But it was her vocation as an occupational therapist, with its emphasis on enabling the whole person to live fully, that engaged her in a deeply spiritual way and gave her life meaning.
So it was a huge loss when she decided she had to retire early for health reasons.
Fortunately, she was involved at St. Aidan’s and gradually, because now she had more time, Margaret was drawn into the life of the church in a deeper way. A friend suggested that maybe she should consider being a deacon. Margaret immediately rejected that idea because she didn’t want to get into the internal politics. However, deep down, the suggestion must have wormed its way into her unconscious, or perhaps the Holy Spirit was at work. Because when the Centre for Christian Studies offered Ministering by Word and Example in 2016, she signed up.
Ministering by Word and Example is a short course that explores the foundations for diaconal service in the Anglican tradition, develops capacity, and provides opportunities for discernment of gifts and vocation.
Margaret loved the course when she took it. The small group setting, and the way she could engage in practical and creative ways with the ideas of presenters, suited her adult learning style to a T.
Taking this course was a turning point. It helped Margaret discern that, “Maybe ‘deaconing’ is right for me.” So with the encouragement of her pastor, other deacons, and the Bishop, she pursued her calling as a deacon. Margaret was ordained a year ago November.
The Centre for Christian Studies received funding this year from the Anglican Foundation to convert the already successful in-person “Ministering by Word and Example” course that Margaret Friesen took into an online format. In this way, it will be accessible to Anglicans all across Canada to help them discern or prepare to be deacons. This fall, Ministering by Word and Example is starting online on the morning of October 31 and will continue on Monday evenings and Saturday mornings until December 7. You can find out more here.