Just what are Deacons, anyway?
Deacons are ordained ministers in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Deacons are called to be present to those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, oppressed, isolated or alone. By serving and addressing the needs of others, deacons are a physical example of God’s love and light. Deacons are also a bridge between the church and the wider community, interpreting to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.
The primary emphasis of a deacon's ministry is outside and beyond the usual reach of the parish. Sometimes referred to as "workplace ministry", this ministry is at the heart of what it means to be a deacon. Some deacons work in completely secular jobs; some work on advocacy efforts; some are retired and exercise their ministries through volunteer groups; many will exercise their workplace ministry through parish outreach programs.
When not engaged in these workplace ministries, deacons engage in other parish-based ministry to support the baptized in their awareness of and engagement in serving others: education, preaching and pastoral care. Throughout a deacon’s life, the deacon focuses his or her ministry on empowering the members of the Church to live out their baptismal ministries.
The deacon’s liturgical role is highly symbolic of his or her workplace ministry. Since deacons take the Word of God out into the world, a role of proclamation, the deacon proclaims the Gospel; since deacons are engaged with feeding, both figuratively and literally, their liturgical role includes setting the table for Holy Communion; and since deacons are models and encouragers for the whole people of God as they live out their baptismal ministries, the deacon dismisses the people from the liturgy, prompting them to go out and continue their Christian service.
Deacons complement the work of other ordained ministers - priests and bishops - by being the being the eyes, ears, hands and feet of the church out in the community.