[Note: Cross-posted from Gottesdienst Online.]
[UPDATE: See my comment #19]
In a way, my heart is strangely warmed by the fact that the Atlantic District now officially has women preachers (deacons). For a long time those of us who have complained about the MO Synod tossing out AC XIV have pointed out that if you are going to let lay men act like pastors, what is to stop you from letting lay women act like pastors? Either no one who is uncalled to the Office may preach and administer the Sacraments, or everybody can. Well, now it’s QED, as you can see below.
HT: Rev. Josh Osbun and the Stand Firm blog.
A few highlights of the program from the Atlantic District’s Diaconate Guidelines document:
4.1 At the heart of the ministry of deacons are works of mercy, witness, and worship, in solidarity with the poor and needy. The actual tasks undertaken by members of the diaconate will vary according to the gifts and skills of the deacon and the needs of the church and its surrounding community. Deacons so gifted will engage in various ministries of teaching within the congregation/agency, including baptismal and communion preparation, catechesis of youth and adults, and small group Bible study leadership or supervision. All aspects of diaconal ministry are under the supervision of the supervising pastor.
4.2 Members of the diaconate assume a leadership role in worship, but this is never to be their primary task. Rather, the serving function of deacons in the Church’s liturgy is to be a reflection of their tangible, actual servant hood in the world.
4.3 Members of the district diaconate shall neither preside at the Holy Eucharist nor exercise the Office of the Keys. In the absence of an ordained pastor and with approval of the pastor and congregation, the deacon may serve at the divine service including the communion liturgy using reserved sacrament. This practice should be used sparingly so as to not confuse the “Office of Deacon” and the “Office of Pastor.” The deacon may officiate at funerals under the direction of a supervising pastor. The deacon may proclaim the Gospel in formal and informal settings after he/she has received training in homiletics and while remaining under the supervision of an ordained pastor.
5.5 It is expected that most members of the district diaconate will continue to hold regular employment and therefore would be involved in diaconal service on a part-time, non-stipendiary basis. There may be instances however, when a deacon serves a ministry for a stipend….