In December 2009, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Harrington, Bishop Wright ordained six deacons — Cecily Sawyer Harmon, Pat Malcolm, Tom McCormick, Susan Phillips, Sheila Sharpe,
and Dottie Vuono. With this issue of the Delaware Communion, we mark the tenth year of this memorable day. Congratulations to each of you, my friends and colleagues, on your anniversary!
I was not in the diocese at the time, but I’ve heard it rained so hard and for so long on that day that some cars got stuck deep in mud on the way home. Still, I hear that the weather was no match for the joy and enthusiasm the diocese felt for these six ordinands and for the joyful fact that Delaware now had raised up deacons of its own. So, congratulations to all of us on this anniversary!
The diaconate traces back two thousand years to the apostles and the very first days of the church. As told in Acts 6, in spite of brutal persecution the church was growing so quickly that leaders were concerned that the church’s core work of caring for the hungry was being lost. So, the church very carefully set aside (‘ordained’ is what we say today) its first group of deacons to make certain the church would never forget that loving service and attentive pastoral care shape the heart and soul of who the church is and what the church does.
I give thanks for the deacons who have shaped my own call and ministry over the years, for the deacons who serve in Delaware today, and for those deacons in Delaware yet to come. I encourage us all to reach out to a deacon today and thank them for their essential, energizing ministry in the name of Jesus Christ.