Monday, September 10, 2012

Deacon celebration calls church members to mutual vulnerability

The WA Synod celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first ordinations of Deacons in the UCA as part of their Synod meeting in September. Here's the story from the WA website:

Rev Bev Fabb preached at the celebration
Rev Denise Savage

Synod Sunday began with worship celebrating the 21st anniversary of the renewal of diaconate ministry within the Uniting Church. The focus of the morning was on the ministry of service given expression by those ordained to the ministry of deacon.
Rev Marion Millin gave some historical background, telling of how the Uniting Church, in 1991, agreed to recognise two expressions of ordained ministry, the ministry of the Word, and ministry of deacon. WA’s Rev Betty Matthews was the first person to be ordained as a deacon in the Uniting Church.
Rev Bev Fabb preached, focussing on the story of the last supper as told in John 13:
… So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
“Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
(The Message translation)

Rev Bev Fabb washes the feet of Rev Marion Millin
 Bev pointed out that, while Christians have followed the tradition of the last supper by celebrating communion, and recognising it as a sacrament, Jesus’ command to wash one another’s feet is not followed often.
“The act of foot washing is an experience of mutual vulnerability,” said Bev. When you kneel at someone’s feet, you risk being kicked in the head. At the same time, the person whose feet are being washed has to expose their defects and sensitivities.
“Deacons are called to wash the feet of those who suffer in our world, in gentleness, compassion and love,” said Bev.
“What God wants is for us to wash one another’s feet.”
During the celebration of communion and over the morning tea, Bev and other deacons were available to wash others’ feet or to have their own feet washed.
Photos on the website

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