In the Reformed churches of The Netherlands, only candidate-ministers are
ordained, by one (or more) ordained minister(s). When having accepted a call
to another congregation, they are 'confirmed' (in their call to that
congegration by God, through the people).
The elders (presbyters) and deacons are not ordained but confirmed (see
above) as office bearers and hence, with the minister(s), as members of the
'consistory' (church council). Our Reformed churches also specify that
assisting at the Lord's Supper and taking up the collection _is_ intrinsic
to the office of deacon. The elders have a ruling and pastoral task, the
deacons a (practical) helping task, both in liturgy and pastorate. Nowadays,
deacons are allowed to vote as to decisions of church council so that in
practice they also rule. In spite of Reformed polity, the office of deacon
is still regarded by some people as inferior to the office as elder,
Practically, all of the above is the same in U.S. Reformed denominations.
One difference, what we in The Netherlands call 'confirmation', the U.S.
Reformed denominations call 'installation'.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank Senn" <fcsenn@...>
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 3:14 PM
Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Using a layman as liturgical deacon
> The Eastern Churches may be very clear about the office of deacon. The
> Western Churches are not. Most deacons, in Churches that have preserved
> the office, are candidates on their way to the priesthood. They are not
> "permanent deacons." In many Reformed Churches, deacons are elected
> officers of the congregation and do not (necessarily) have liturgical
> functions. In Lutheran Churches in Europe deacons are ministers with
> full-time social service responsibilities. There are also orders of
> consecrated deaconesses who perform various ministries. These deacons and
> deaconesses can be given liturgical roles, but such roles are not
> intrinsic to their church office. These are the facts on the ground, as
> it were. These facts need to be remembered as we discuss what deacons
> "ought" to be doing liturgically.
> I think the most we can say is that there are certain liturgical tasks
> that were historically performed by the deacon, although not necessarily
> so. Example: Justin Martyr says that the deacons took the consecrated
> elements to the absent after the service. He doesn't say that deacons
> read "the memoirs of the apostles", but he does mention "readers." Were
> the deacons always literate? There's an interesting thought. We know
> that the scholae cantorum that developed in late antiquity were actually
> schools that taught boys to read so that they could sing the texts of
> psalms and canticles. Not surprisingly, they also served as readers. It
> takes some imagination to understand historical data, but not necessarily
> a romantic imagination.
> Frank C. Senn
> From: asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...>
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 1:50:50 AM
> Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Using a layman as liturgical deacon
>> Posted by: "Daniel Lawson" k95dl01@gmail. com dmcl76
>>>> If liturgy expresses ecclesiology, what are we saying when someone
>>>> assumes a liturgical order to which they are not called? <
>>> Or ordained. Imagine letting lay people perform the role of the
>>> priest. Everyone would be outraged.
>> What happens in the ordination of a deacon, or, to put it differently,
>> what can a deacon do that a layperson cannot?
> anyone "can" do what a deacon does; they're just not "ordained" to do
> it. I would probably be a better liturgist than some of the priests
> i've met, and i dare say even a better pastor than a few. But i am not
> a priest, and they are. I can't serve at the altar; they can.
> even apart from the conferring/possessi on of the relevant "faculties"
> and "powers" (as you latins sometimes call them), or of "graces" (more
> typical of our nomenclature) , there's a certain order in the
> community, and ordination is an assignment to a certain place and
> function within that order. It isn't something you "decide" you're
> going to do, but something that the community and its hierarchy
> "confer" upon you. You might imagine that you would be the best deacon
> or priest or bishop in the world-- and you might be-- and you might
> even fancy that you have a direct call from God Almighty to be such--
> but if you are not called by the church, you have no such vocation;
> it's a delusion.
> No doubt many employees could do their managers' jobs as good or
> better than the managers--- but they are not the managers.
> And If a layperson is appointed to function as a deacon, and
> recognized as a deacon, then he *is* the community's "deacon", no?--
> so why not ordain him as such? Would it be because "we don't believe
> that anyone has any power to appoint anyone to any office in the
> church, or that any grace is conferred in any ordination, and people
> are free to do whatever they want"? Or is it a case of "we don't
> really want to make a commitment to this person such that we would
> really think of him as a deacon but we just need somebody to do the
> job"? (and if the latter, then we go back to my first question, no?)
> it seems that the orders of the church are part promotion to
> leadership, part recognition of leadership, part development of
> leadership, and part empowerment of leadership (leadership in several
> different levels and dimensions). But if you promote and recognize and
> even *institutionally* empower, why not *sacramentally* empower? Or
> does one believe that the church really *is* nothing more than an
> institution or corporation, and apart from the corporate advancement,
> there is no real empowerment, no real sacrament, as such?
> Posted by: "Mar Cyriac" mar.cyriac@yahoo. com mar.cyriac
>> I have to agree with you to a point, within Church history there
>> were many cases where Lay persons took up the role of presbyter to
>> minister the Eucharist to the Faithful.
>> +Alban Ba MaEd DD, Resurrected Apostolic Catholic Church
> um, could you kindly provide some of these cases where laypersons
> "took up the role of presbyter" without being ordained to the
> presbyterate? I mean, let's say within the first 1500 years. After
> that, all bets are off, in some places anyway.
> john burnett
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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