It has been a great joy to work and worship together with you at Christ Church this last year and a half. This annual report is an opportunity to refresh your understanding of the role I play as a deacon at Christ Church.
Deacons do not bless, consecrate, or absolve, but we do assist in worship; administering the sacraments, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching God’s word and sending the faithful out to do God’s work in the world. The word “deacon” comes from the Greek, “diakonos”,meaning servant. Deacons are servant leaders with a particular focus on “the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely.”
In addition to parish ministry, deacons are concerned with the conditions and plight of those outside our church walls. In the past year Christ Church has engaged in several diaconal ministries:
- During Lent, 2019, Christ Church gave generously to the deacons? diocesan outreach effort with an abundance of new underwear for the House of Hope?s Shower to Empower project.
- In October, 2019 The Pastoral Care Commission sponsored a forum on the opiod crisis as it exists in our area. In addition to the stories from a mother of an overdose victim and, and a victim who is successful in recovery, speakers included our police chief Shawn Lacey and our own pharmacy expert, Simi Chandy who contributed vital information and perspective.
- On January 12 the church hosted another forum highlighting yet another problem close to home, the vaping epidemic. The presentation was well attended by both youth and parents and many questions answered about this most recent health crisis in our communities.
Deacons minister to those who are in need, whether they are hungry for food, in need of clothing, or are starving for a message of hope, a sign of peace, the love of Almighty God.
To that end, I am called to a ministry to the sick, fulfilling an oath to serve the needy. I am privileged to minister part time as a chaplain at the Westerly Nursing Home (Royal) and I work with the Pastoral Care Commission seeing to the spiritual needs of those with medical emergencies, and those parishioners who are no longer able to attend church because of age or infirmity.
I usually attend the Wednesday morning bible study, where I fulfill another ordination vow, to study scripture and incorporate it into my life. It is a rich and fun time. Each week as I stand amongst you to proclaim the Gospel, I am deeply aware of where I am and whom I serve. Christ Church is a place where people ?love and serve the Lord?with generosity and joy. There is much work to do. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Rev. Dn. Anne B. Burke