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The Friday Reflection Title
February 5, 2016
Called to Be…Deacons
Shortly after the Ascension of Jesus, the flourishing Church came to the point where the Twelve could no longer meaningfully preach and teach and effectively minister to the needs of the expanding community. This concern was addressed in Acts: “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables’.”(Acts 6:1-2) And so it came to pass that a small group was selected to serve in this capacity.
Over time, these servants or ministers became known as deacons. Their numbers grew and their role and contributions in the community evolved to meet the needs within their local context. Phoebe was a deacon in Greece who received accolades from Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rom. 16:1). Philip baptized an Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40) and tradition holds that this newly baptized brother returned to his homeland and was instrumental in founding the Church there. St. Francis of Assisi was, (reluctantly), ordained a deacon and birthed the Order of the Franciscans.
While all Christians are called to be…ministers of Christ and his Church, we recognize that some are called to the particular ministry of the diaconate. This is an ordained ministry that, in part, helps to identify the needs of the community outside the walls of the Church and to work to meet those needs. Depending upon the circumstances, this work may take the form of community organizing, advocacy, and/or working side-by-side with existing organizations to partner with them by leveraging their expertise and lending much needed support.
Christian community ministry is always bathed in prayer. The deacon performs a distinctive role in the liturgy of the Church, taking the needs of the world to the worshiping community by offering prayers of intercession, (The Prayers of the People). Deacons also proclaim the Gospel and may preach on occasion to further inform the congregation of the needs of the suffering and their role as Christians to work diligently to alleviate class distinctions, hunger, poverty, and lift up those relegated to the margins of society.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive model of the diaconate. This ministry varies according to the needs of the communities served and according to the gifts of the minister. Gifts are as varied as are the individuals being called.
So here is the question….might you be hearing the call to the diaconate? Might you be feeling a restlessness, an urge, a longing?
Here are the first steps: pray, pray, pray. Pray for guidance. Pray for discernment. Pray for strength. Pray for courage. Pray for wisdom. Then go and talk with your priest. After listening and praying with you, he or she may convene a parish/congregational commission to help with the discernment process. The road to Holy Orders, (ordination), is one that is discerned and supported in community. From there you may be invited to enter into conversation with the bishop and may be referred to a diocesan Commission on Ministry to further discern the calling. In time, they may send you to the School for Deacons here in San Joaquin.
The School for Deacons in our diocese is a rigorous, intensive program, with small class sizes and hands-on mentors.
It meets once a month, eleven months a year. The academic portion of this formation is two years.
Is God calling you to this?
You will find yourself immersed in Holy Scripture and learning about Church History and theology.
Can you hear the call?
You will learn to lead the Daily Office, to become accustomed to reading with clarity and authority, and to teach with confidence.
Is God calling you?
Skills in community organizing, spiritual practices, and pastoral care are also offered.
Are you hearing the call?
Are you Called to be…a deacon?
The Rev. Michele Racusin

Human Trafficking News
Freedom Sunday
 February 7th
is a day to take time to proclaim freedom for all who are trapped in modern day slavery. Read more

Diocesan Events

Central Deanery Gathering – February 6- update 
The next gathering of the Central Deanery will be on Saturday, February 6 in Fresno. We will be joining Taizé Fresno at the First Congregational Church (also known as The Big Red Church on Van Ness) at 2131 N. Van Ness Avenue for a day of Taizé Prayer with a theme of Social Justice. The event starts at 8:a.m. with registration and refreshments, followed by Taizé prayer introduction by Sherah Moore and Sandy DeGraff.
The Rev. Suzy Ward of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Visalia will present the first general session, “Reflections on the Tour Against Trafficking,” at 9 a.m.  At 10:15 a.m., participants can choose between several prayer-experience sessions.  The final prayer session concludes at 3:45 pm. The cost is $25 if registered by February 1, and $30 after that date. Lunch is included.  No formal meeting will be held, but during the breaks and at lunch time, members of the Central Deanery and friends can meet and socialize. To view the brochure, and print the registration form for mailing, go to:http://www.earthprayers.net/taizeweekend.htm

Diocesan Events

Central Deanery Gathering, February 6, 8:00am,  First Congregational Church, Fresno
Commission On Ministry Meeting, February 13, 10am, Holy Family, Fresno
Diocesan Council/Standing Committee Retreat, February 19-20, ECCO
Southern Deanery Meeting, February 27, 11am, St. Sherrian’s, Kernville
Northern Deanery Meeting, March 19, 10 am, St. Paul’s, Modesto
Chrism Mass, Tuesday, March 22, 11am, Holy Family Fresno

News from St. Raphael’s, Oakhurst

New time!
St. Raphael Episcopal Church in Oakhurst is now holding their Sunday Service st 10:00am
They meet at 49777 School Road in Oakhurst

 From: ecf Vital Practices

Reboot’ Your Vestry”
by Nancy Davidge on February 3, 2016
Creating a vibrant and vital vestry is an ongoing task. The period following your annual meeting, when newly elected members join the vestry, is a good time to review and renew your congregation’s vision statement and to think about what putting this vision into practice looks like. This month our articles support you in these efforts, with our fourth article sharing a practice designed to free up meeting time to address these important issues.Read more

The Five Marks of Mission
The Five Marks of Mission
Click here for poster to post

Deacon Coat Ministry
We have a new Deacon Coat Ministry in our diocese! Click
here for more information and more pictures of the coats!

Congratulations to Amanda Gaona
Amanda Gaona, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield was selected by our 26th Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as a member of the Episcopal Church’s delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) during its 60th session.
Please see attached letter asking for financial support for Amanda to attend this very important event.  Click here.
We are very excited that a delegate was chosen from our Diocese. Please help Amanda get there.
Please contact the Diocesan Office if you which to donate.

Travel to the
Land of the Holy One

From The Rev. Heather Mueller
Dear friends in the Diocese of San Joaquin,
As many of you already know I am organizing a group for travel to the Land of the Holy One.
The pilgrimage is scheduled for September 23 to October 6, 2016, with the option of going to Jordan….Petra and possibly Ista #CDD7E9nbul.
It is time to make a decision about going and I will connect each person with the travel agent who will work out the travel details. Read more.
For Flyer click here.

Website Links
Tour Against Trafficking
The Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church Foundation
Episcopal News Service
Integrity USA


Missional Bags

Send your donations to The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355. Please write Yellow Bags in the memo line.
Thank you.

Friday Reflection

Stories of the Bag, Missional Days, Special Events Articles can be submitted to the Diocesan Office atemeyer@diosanjoaquin.org.
All submissions are due no later than the Tuesday before the FridayReflection. Pictures submitted are to be in jpeg format and forms to be attached to the FridayReflection are best in PDF format.

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The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin  1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355
PH 209-576-0104 F 209-576-0114 E contact@diosanjoaquin.org

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