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Deacons and the Church Paperback – May 1, 2004
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These and many other questions beg to be examined in a systematic and reflective manner, and a necessary condition for doing so is to begin to look at the theology and spirituality of deaconal service. Alas, this hasn't been done too often up to now. Analyses of the diaconate have tended to focus (to use Cummings' distinction) on either the "power" of the diaconate (its function) or the "history" of the diaconate. As a consequence, the Holy Order of deacons still leaves many people in the church confused: many bishops don't know what to do with deacons, priests sometimes see them as nuisances, and parishoners tend to think of them as assistant priests.
Owen Cummings' book is the first to begin to think about the permanent diaconate from a theological perspective. Although written from the vantage point of the Roman Catholic tradition, it is invaluable for other Christian traditions (such as my own, Anglicanism) that ordains deacons. Cummings examines the history of the diaconate and its renewal in the twentieth century. This is pretty standard stuff.Read more ›