About the Diaconate

The Diaconate of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana

Deacons have been active in this diocese since 1990. The diocese has fifteen active deacons deployed in eight of its 34 parishes and one candidate for the diaconate. This Community of Deacons is very active; it faithfully serves those in need in the Name of Jesus as an integral part of the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus movement in Montana! Ministries such as feeding the hungry, advocating for children and families, nurturing the souls of those who are incarcerated, working to stem the tide of the high rate of suicide in this state, tending to the sick, the lonely and elderly, serving in low income health clinics, being present to those who do the hard work in law enforcement, working to abolish the death penalty, advocating for justice and equality for all, collaborating with others to end homelessness one family at a time, working to end violence of any kind, and facilitating the School for Deacons are some of what we do. Our deacons are committed to leading members of their congregations to live into the baptismal covenant. We ARE the bridge to the world and back to the church raising up the needs, concerns AND hopes of the world in which we live.

Diocesan School for Deacons

The School for Deacons provides educational and experiential opportunities for developing and preparing individuals for the 21st Century diaconate. Prior to ordination, each student is prepared in and able to demonstrate basic competencies in five canonical areas: 1) Academic studies including Holy Scripture, Theology and the Tradition of the Church; 2) Diakonia and the diaconate; 3) Human awareness and understanding; 4) Spiritual development and discipline; and 5) Practical training and experience. Our training is grounded in Anglican Spirituality each time we meet and a strong focus on development of a deacon within community is paramount.

The School sessions take place over a three-year period; this involves meeting together 8-9 times a year for one weekend each session. The first two years cover the academics, the development of a rule of life and practical experience in preaching, leading, and planning various worship services. The third year is the Diaconal Formation Ministry Experience (DFME) which includes practical experience working under a contract with his/her local parish priest and developing a diaconal ministry under the supervision of an appropriate leader outside the church.

As the trainings are available, all students must complete those having to do with anti-racism and sexual misconduct/Title IV.

We use a combination of on-line and face-to-face classes. Most notably, the Community Organizing class taught at Bexley-Seabury and the Yale on-line course on the Old Testament. We use qualified presbyters and deacons to teach the classes; the Bishop has been instrumental in assisting us to identify faculty members from the Diocese.

For two years post-ordination, new deacons are assigned to work with the Archdeacon as their mentor. We actively seek students enthusiastically encouraging parish clergy and vestries to look for the “deacon in their midst.” Our goal is to raise up a deacon in each parish in the diocese. The School has become an integral part of the discernment process. Students have been allowed to attend as aspirants in the ordination process.

We encourage life-long learning and seek a bishop who is willing to support the Community of Deacons through education and retreats. “Title 3, Canon 7, Section5—“The Bishop and Commission shall require and provide for the continuing education of Deacons and keep a record of such education.”