It is with great joy and excitement that I inform you that we have reformed and reinvigorated the Diaconal Formation program in the Diocese of Connecticut and are inviting people to explore the question of discernment to the diaconate in Connecticut under our new process.
The Deacon Formation Task Force and the Deacon'sCouncil have worked faithfully for the past year looking at new and empowering models for this significant ministry. We believe we are offering a strong program for diaconal formation in Connecticut at this time. Our goal is to offer formation for deacons which will help form and shape leaders in God's mission. The deacon is called to empower others for ministry, helping all of us to broaden our understanding of how we are called to join God's Mission in the communitieswhere our parishes are located and beyond. Empowering others to work collaboratively with other congregations, local social service agencies and other ministry partners in our local contexts will be a significant part of the ministry of the diaconate as we move forward into the 21st century.
If you are interested in exploring the diaconate, I invite you to meet with your rector to discuss the possibilities of this call. If your rector and you both feel it is time to move forward in discernment, please be in touch with Julie Burnep and set up a time for both of you to meet with me. After we meet, I will put you in touch with a member of Committee I-D, the diaconal committee on discernment, who will meet with you and the discernment committee put together by your rector to outline the process that is to take place in your home parish as a next step in your journey. You can find the materials for the discernment guide on our website at http://www.ctepiscopal.org/images/customer-files//DiaconateDiscernmentManual2012.pdf.
On the website you will also find an outline of the new formation process. The link for this is http://www.ctepiscopal.org/images/customer-files//DeaconFormationBrochure2012.pdf. Please note the flexibility and diversity of options for formation. We believe this will make the diaconate more available to a wide range of people. This formation process will officially begin in September of 2012. In the first year of this new process, we will have rolling admissions, so please start your discernment groups when you feel the Spirit is calling you and do not feel rushed to finish by September. The dates in the discernment manual will not apply during the 2012-2013 year.
Please be in touch with me via email if you have any questions. I may refer your question to one of the members of the Deacon's Council or the Task Force, but you will hear back from someone regarding your inquiry.
Blessings and peace,
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Laura J. Ahrens