Lifelong Episcopalian, educator, dramatist and public speaker, Janet MacNally serves as Saint Paul’s deacon. Besides her liturgical responsibilities of proclaiming the gospel, assisting at the altar, and preaching, Janet’s calling includes accompanying the people of Saint Paul’s outside the doors of the church to discover and join where the Holy Spirit is at work in the neighborhood and the world beyond. Her passions include but are not limited to food ministries, immigration and refugee rights, and voter participation.
“My role as deacon is to empower the baptized to carry out the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth, to see and serve Christ in all we meet and to respect the dignity of every human being.”
What is a deacon?
Deacons are one of the orders of ministry recognized by the Episcopal Church. The orders are: lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP p. 855). Each order is a particular calling, according to the various gifts given by the Holy Spirit. The role of a deacon is summarized in what the bishop says the service of ordination for a deacon, just before the laying on of hands:
My brother/sister, every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.
As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemption love known, by your word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from me to me. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.
— Book of Common Prayer (BCP) p. 543
Jesus said to her,
"I am the resurrection and the life."