A group of people standing in a room

Congratulations and Thank You, Deacon Connie!

A person posing for the cameraPeople of Hope:

Deacon Connie serves Esperanza as our Family Ministry Coordinator. In that role, she coordinates Vacation Bible School and Sunday Funday, leads monthly preschool chapel services and builds relationships with all the kiddos and their families who make their way to Esperanza. In addition to her Family Ministry Coordinator role, Deacon Connie serves as a teacher in the 2-year-old Duckling classroom at Children of Hope Child Development Center. As her title implies, Deacon Connie is also an ELCA deacon. While she is not called as a deacon to the Esperanza community, this September, she celebrates 32 years of serving as a deacon in the ELCA.

You may be asking: What’s a deacon?

At the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, changes were made to the three rosters of lay leaders. As of Jan. 1, 2017, those who have served on the lay rosters as associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, and deaconesses are now part of one unified roster of ‘Ministers of Word and Service,’ and are called deacons. The other roster of the ELCA continues to be known as ‘Ministers of Word and Sacrament,’ called pastors.

The ministry of the diaconate, that is of deacons also called ministers of Word and Service, is recognized by churches throughout history and around the world. The earliest deacon of the Bible was Stephen. This newer roster more closely aligns with the global church, providing clarity and empowerment to those the church calls to serve.

Deacons are distinctive in their vocational identity. They are formed to prepare, inspire, and lead the entire community they serve in its ministry of service. Deacons’ ministry sits at the intersection of church and world, nudging the church out of its doors to meet neighbors where they are.

Historically — as early as the second century — deacons assumed certain liturgical duties in worship, although the specific functions varied greatly over time and place. These wide-ranging responsibilities included assistance in the administration of the Eucharist and in baptisms, taking the Eucharist to those absent from the service, and even preaching. Deacons also read the Epistle and Gospel, made announcements, gave instructions during the liturgy, presented the offertory, led bidding prayers, and dismissed the congregation at the end of the service. Almost 2,000 years later, many of these duties remain an important part of the deacon’s responsibilities in some Christian traditions. In the ELCA, lay leaders routinely serve in these roles in worship, where the deacon may instruct or coordinate worship leadership.

While Deacon Connie serves in a more limited capacity here at Esperanza, she brings her years of ministry first as an Associate In Ministry and now as a deacon to bear. At her consecration worship in late September 1991, the following passage from the gospel of Matthew was read:

[Jesus] put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Deacon Connie, thank you for 32 years of planting seeds! So many lives have been enriched by your ministry!

Celebrating with Deacon Connie 

Guilherme Seta et al. standing in a room

On Sunday, Sept. 24, Deacon Connie will preach in worship, and we will celebrate with her at a special time of fellowship following worship. Please plan to join us!

With joy,

Pastor Sarah

P.S. Deacon Connie 2nd in from the left of photo – “nudging” our youth to get involved in the community and helping serve breakfast at Grace Lutheran last month.