Kendra Mitchell-Foster is a second year student in the joint Diaconal Ministry Diploma program at the Centre for Christian Studies (www.ccsonline.ca) in Winnipeg, and the Master of Theology in Diaconal Ministry at St. Stephen’s College (https://www.ualberta.ca/st-stephens/st-stephens-programs/diaconal-studies) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
With the support of the Board and congregation, Kendra will be completing her Education and Worship placement as a student at Trinity United Church in Prince George, BC from September 2019 to April 2020. As a Candidate for Ministry in the United Church of Canada, she is thrilled to be invited to be of service to her home congregation which she dearly loves. In this placement, Kendra will be listening to the church family at Trinity, and holding space for the growth of Christian Education and Adult Faith Formation ministries in Prince George.
What is Diaconal Ministry? The Greek word diakonia means service among others, and has it roots in the Christian scriptures. Deacons (or “diaconal ministers” as they’re called in the United Church tradition) carry out all kinds of ministries, often in the areas of education, service, and pastoral care. Those in the diaconate serve in various capacities, such as in congregational ministry, in community development, as chaplains, in inner-city ministry, as overseas personnel, at lay education centres and theological schools, or in staff positions within their presbytery/ conferences/ diocese/ General Synod/ General Council. These ministries can also include responsibility for liturgical and sacramental leadership.
Many Christian denominations have diaconal ministers. In the United Church of Canada they are commissioned as a distinct from but equal stream within the order of ministry. In the Anglican Church of Canada the office of “deacon” is sometimes a stepping-stone toward priesthood (transitional diaconate), but there are also those who are ordained to life-long vocational diaconal ministry. “Diakonia” is also the worldwide movement of those commitment to the vision of Christian service, action, and justice-making. (http://ccsonline.ca/diakonia/)
A Diploma in Diaconal Ministry from CCS prepares students for a ministry of education, service, and pastoral care in the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada. The additional work at St. Stephen’s College enhances the academic requirements to meet the standards of at BTS or MTS degree. (https://www.ualberta.ca/st-stephens/st-stephens-programs/diaconal-studies)