Author Topic: Female Deacons?  (Read 29500 times)

Todd Wilken

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #75 on: August 14, 2013, 02:47:02 PM »
The word at issue seems to be "authorize." Todd Wilken seems to be saying that because the guidelines allow or don't forbid it, therefore they authorize it (and, by some people's reading of the way he presents, it actually happens), while Matt Staneck et al seem to be drawing a distinction between what the guidelines allow for and what is actually authorized by anyone. So in the AD deaconesses do not preach, but that is not because the written policy precludes it but because the of the way the pastors implement the policies.

My article wrapping up the LCMS convention speaks directly to this, namely, how much the political divide in synod by default revolves around the question of the degree to which it is anyone else's business what another pastor or congregation does. It is a bummer for me to watch it play out this way because on I have recently asked favors of both Dave and Todd. I asked Dave to help me get communion to a relative in upstate New York and my wife asked if she could tour the Issues, Etc. studio, which she did with a couple of my children, who now wear "I Have Issues" t-shirts as pajamas.

Peter,

I have never said anything is happening in the AD. I have consistently focused on what the current Guidelines actually say. And, I have been called a liar, a fear-monger, and "scurrilous" on this polite and brotherly forum for doing so. TW
Well, we here at alpb have issues, too, you know. For one thing, Charles is busy or you would have been called much more creative and exotic things. But seriously, my guess (not wanting to speak for anybody) is that those harsh terms simply express their opinion that you broke the 8th by bringing it up without mentioning the fact that revisions were coming down the pike that would address the issue and the fact that the problem with the guidelines had never actually resulted in a deaconess preaching/presiding. So it seemed to them merely like rabble-rousing to draw attention to a problem that was really only a potential problem and was in the process of being fixed. Doesn't excuse the terms and of course doesn't take into account your version of events. But it does seem to me as though there is very effort by anyone involved to paint the other side as reasonable.   

Peter,

I'm obviously not familiar with the ALBP lexicon. Can you give me the ALPB definitions of "liar," "fear-monger" and "scurrilous"?

TW
Sure. They all mean "You breaker of the 8th! I don't like you!"

OK. That's what I thought.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #76 on: August 14, 2013, 03:06:02 PM »
One problem that I know I have in a forum like this that I have trouble at times keeping straight exactly who said what.  The various people who argue from one direction on an issue tend to blur together and we can end up responding to one person for something that he in fact did not say but that others had previously said.

The issue of female deacons in the Atlantic District has been batted around for some time, and much has been said about the issues and about those commenting about the issue here  and elsewhere.  There have been those who apparently have commented as though if the distrinct guidelines seem to allow women to preach or preside, it must be happening and ain't it awful!   Just goes to show how heretical Pr. Benke and the other AD are. 

Assurances have been given that it is not happening,  and that revisions are in the works to no avail.  Pr. Wilken brings this up again and is greeted with frustration and anger, especially as in his defense he seems to make no acknowledgment that what is feared is not happening and the needed revisions are being prepared.  Pr. Hannah in frustration reacts not just to what Pr. Wilken said but to what other have said as they rallied the villagers with pitch forks and hay rakes.

Everyone is feeling much maligned and put upon.

Before further responses to accusations and counter claims are made, it would be wise to go back and examine what they themselves have actually posted and try to understand what else they might have had to deal with on the topic.

Dan
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Weedon

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #77 on: August 14, 2013, 03:11:12 PM »
Re. Pr. Fienen's post, the appropriate response is:  "Wisdom! Let us attend!" In other words, well said.

Dave Benke

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #78 on: August 14, 2013, 03:19:24 PM »
I think there are two simple questions that could be answered by AD leadership that would put much of this to rest, and I, respectfully, ask that they consider offering a response:

(1)  When can we expect to see the guidelines corrected, and once completed, might you post a link to the corrected guidelines on this forum so this particular aspect of the training of female deacons in the AD is put to rest?

(2)  Why is there a need for a separate training program for women who wish to serve in the diaconate in the AD?  Do the six existing training programs for the female diaconate in the LCMS not offer the requisite formation for such service?

Whether intended or not, the reality is that the recognized and called female diaconate of the LCMS feel that this is an affront to the office they have been called into.  The service of the AD female deacon is dissimilar in that liturgical functions seem to be promoted as part of her service.  The LCMS deaconess training programs and the CDC do not support this type of service for a woman serving in the LCMS diaconate.  Deaconesses function most typically outside the bounds of Word and Sacrament ministry . . . away from altar, pulpit and font . . . but rather pointing those who are lost, hurting or in need TO the altar, pulpit and font through the pastor.

1) definitely

2) I think at the heart of it is the liturgical function of some deacons who are women.  That there are lay training programs is not unique and that the lay training programs should be called a diaconate is biblical.  That the diaconal training program can connect for men to training toward ordination is great, and has happened a dozen times already to completion (including Pastor Matthew Staneck's dad Michael, now ordained, and an Atlantic District Deacon).  That the diaconal training program can connect for women toward the LC--MS deaconess training programs is also great.  BUT, I think the proscriptions attached in some ways at most of the deaconess training centers to any liturgical function for deaconesses and by extension for any women laity is off-putting to that goal. 

As I state over and over, the holder of the pastoral office is hindered and demeaned when sectarian rubrics prevent a pastor from exercising his presidency of the altar and his spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people.  The imposition of such rubrics is sub-Lutheran in my opinion.  A layperson male or female reading a lesson, a layperson male or female distributing the chalice/cup, a layperson male or female visiting the sick, catechizing the catechizands, distributing mercy in the community, supervising those who are involved in those ministries UNDER the supervision of the pastor, is involved in appropriate ministry that devolves from the spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people to which the pastor is called.

I would without question love to speak with those deaconess formation persons at the various LC--MS institutions about these concerns in person, because I believe there is needless division in an area where strategies for nurture, discipleship and outreach in a congregation under the called pastor can be utilized to the glory of God and the welfare of God's holy people.

Dave Benke

Charles_Austin

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2013, 03:28:28 PM »
Peter writes:
For one thing, Charles is busy or you would have been called much more creative and exotic things.

I comment:
Not so busy that I fail to notice the shot. I don't know enough about Pastor Wilken to call him anything. Others here....., I could ....

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2013, 03:31:46 PM »
1) definitely

2) I think at the heart of it is the liturgical function of some deacons who are women.  That there are lay training programs is not unique and that the lay training programs should be called a diaconate is biblical.  That the diaconal training program can connect for men to training toward ordination is great, and has happened a dozen times already to completion (including Pastor Matthew Staneck's dad Michael, now ordained, and an Atlantic District Deacon).  That the diaconal training program can connect for women toward the LC--MS deaconess training programs is also great.  BUT, I think the proscriptions attached in some ways at most of the deaconess training centers to any liturgical function for deaconesses and by extension for any women laity is off-putting to that goal. 

As I state over and over, the holder of the pastoral office is hindered and demeaned when sectarian rubrics prevent a pastor from exercising his presidency of the altar and his spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people.  The imposition of such rubrics is sub-Lutheran in my opinion.  A layperson male or female reading a lesson, a layperson male or female distributing the chalice/cup, a layperson male or female visiting the sick, catechizing the catechizands, distributing mercy in the community, supervising those who are involved in those ministries UNDER the supervision of the pastor, is involved in appropriate ministry that devolves from the spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people to which the pastor is called.

I would without question love to speak with those deaconess formation persons at the various LC--MS institutions about these concerns in person, because I believe there is needless division in an area where strategies for nurture, discipleship and outreach in a congregation under the called pastor can be utilized to the glory of God and the welfare of God's holy people.

Dave Benke

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.  I think we will continue to be at an impasse when it comes to women performing liturgical functions in the LCMS.  Perhaps the Koinonia Project can further the discussion towards a resolution.

Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #81 on: August 14, 2013, 03:34:34 PM »
...the distrinct [sic] guidelines seem to allow women to preach or preside...

Why do you say they "seem" to, when the English is quite clear? 

"4.3 Members of the district diaconate shall neither preside at the Holy Eucharist
nor exercise the Office of the Keys. In the absence of an ordained pastor
and with approval of the pastor and congregation, the deacon may
serve at the divine service including the communion liturgy using
reserved sacrament. This practice should be used sparingly so as to not
confuse the “Office of Deacon” and the “Office of Pastor.” The deacon
may officiate at funerals under the direction of a supervising pastor. The
deacon may proclaim the Gospel in formal and informal settings after
he/she has received training in homiletics and while remaining under
the supervision of an ordained pastor."
(http://www.ad-lcms.org/images/stories/pdfs/FINALADDiaconateGuidelines-Feb2010.pdf)

The only thing that "seems" ambiguous is whether or not the authors who wrote the clear guidelines wrote them intending to allow women to preach and preside in the LCMS, as deacons for now. 

"It was a step." 

Dave Benke

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #82 on: August 14, 2013, 04:02:13 PM »
1) definitely

2) I think at the heart of it is the liturgical function of some deacons who are women.  That there are lay training programs is not unique and that the lay training programs should be called a diaconate is biblical.  That the diaconal training program can connect for men to training toward ordination is great, and has happened a dozen times already to completion (including Pastor Matthew Staneck's dad Michael, now ordained, and an Atlantic District Deacon).  That the diaconal training program can connect for women toward the LC--MS deaconess training programs is also great.  BUT, I think the proscriptions attached in some ways at most of the deaconess training centers to any liturgical function for deaconesses and by extension for any women laity is off-putting to that goal. 

As I state over and over, the holder of the pastoral office is hindered and demeaned when sectarian rubrics prevent a pastor from exercising his presidency of the altar and his spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people.  The imposition of such rubrics is sub-Lutheran in my opinion.  A layperson male or female reading a lesson, a layperson male or female distributing the chalice/cup, a layperson male or female visiting the sick, catechizing the catechizands, distributing mercy in the community, supervising those who are involved in those ministries UNDER the supervision of the pastor, is involved in appropriate ministry that devolves from the spiritual oversight and deployment of God's people to which the pastor is called.

I would without question love to speak with those deaconess formation persons at the various LC--MS institutions about these concerns in person, because I believe there is needless division in an area where strategies for nurture, discipleship and outreach in a congregation under the called pastor can be utilized to the glory of God and the welfare of God's holy people.

Dave Benke

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.  I think we will continue to be at an impasse when it comes to women performing liturgical functions in the LCMS.  Perhaps the Koinonia Project can further the discussion towards a resolution.

I think the Koinonia project can help.  But I think the way it can help, and I'll talk to the arbitors on this, is by conversation with the teaching staff(s), which is what I'm going to pursue.  Personally, as I have said, I find the approach being taught demeans the pastoral office.

Let's take another topic, which is teaching adults.  A Synodically rostered DCE, a layperson who is either male or female, is often given responsibility to teach and/or supervise adult Bible/membership teaching in a congregation, under (as I always add) pastoral supervision.  May a deaconess in the CDC tackle that responsibility or is it abjured? 

Dave Benke


John_Hannah

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #83 on: August 14, 2013, 04:17:56 PM »

...

(2)  Why is there a need for a separate training program for women who wish to serve in the diaconate in the AD?  Do the six existing training programs for the female diaconate in the LCMS not offer the requisite formation for such service?

....


They are two quite different avenues of service. We do have LCMS Rostered Deaconesses here; there is, in fact, a quite outstanding one in my own circuit. She is invaluable to her congregation and quite nice to have around in general. She is full-time and paid (not enough, just as is her pastor).

The District Deacon is not full time and is not paid. None of them can take time from their weekday vacations to attend any of the colleges/seminaries necessary. They tend to be middle age or older. They have families and corresponding obligations. They simply are willing and able to serve their congregations above and beyond what the average member does.

Does that help?

Peace, JOHN
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 04:29:33 PM by John_Hannah »
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #84 on: August 14, 2013, 04:21:25 PM »
A Synodically rostered DCE, a layperson who is either male or female, is often given responsibility to teach and/or supervise adult Bible/membership teaching in a congregation, under (as I always add) pastoral supervision.  May a deaconess in the CDC tackle that responsibility or is it abjured? 

I was taught and I maintain that the teaching office belongs to the pastor.  He teaches the mixed gender Bible classes on a Sunday morning (and Catechism classes).  Can women lead adult Bible Studies for women?  Sure.  Can a woman assist with catechetical instruction of youth?  I believe in some respects she can, but the primary teacher is to be the pastor if he takes his teaching office seriously and wants to be involved in the lives of those kids.  Can a woman lead a prayer office in a group of only women?  Sure.

The CDC has not heretofore narrowly defined every last duty a deaconess may or may not perform.  Unfortunately, situations like this in which the envelope continues to be pushed more and more is making it painfully obvious that we have to further define just what adhering to our Code of Ethics means.  Nobody wants to be in the position of watchdog, but seeing publicity surrounding (and photos touting) women robed, stoled and serving from the chalice in your district is making it difficult for our own organization to maintain credibility among those who see little value in a woman serving in an office of the church as it is.  So beyond just disagreeing with you over women serving in liturgical roles, we suffer a loss of trust as deaconesses because of situations like this in which many argue that the female diaconate is simply a clever guise to bring about women's ordination. 

As I've stated several times, I can't encourage you enough to have those discussions with the deaconess program directors and the Director of Deaconess Ministry in the Office of National Mission.  I think you'll be surprised by what you learn.  The women simply do not want to perform the liturgical duties that you espouse.  Perhaps that's why some felt the need to start their own female deacon training programs for those few who do, who knows?  That was a big leap in a direction the LCMS had not chosen as a Synod to go.  That does not signify walking together.

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #85 on: August 14, 2013, 04:31:24 PM »
None of them can take time from their weekday vacations to attend any of the colleges/seminaries necessary. They tend to be middle age or older. They have families and corresponding obligations. They simply are willing and able to serve their congregations above and beyond what the average member does.

That's too bad that you would set the bar that low for these women.  They CAN attend the distance deaconess training program at CTSFW and manage all of their other family and work obligations.  They do it all quite well, in fact.  I just pinned a deaconess on Sunday after her commissioning who managed to work full-time for the church, run her household effectively and honor her responsibilities as wife and mother (all with a husband who travels frequently).  Age isn't a factor, as Deaconess McCain completed the program in recent years at the ripe young age of 80+.

I worked outside of the home, had four children under the age of 5 AND had a husband attending the seminary full-time (and working in addition to his studies) when I went through the residential program.  Best years of my life, hands down!  With God, all things are possible.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 04:49:17 PM by Buckeye Deaconess »

Harry Edmon

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #86 on: August 14, 2013, 04:34:25 PM »
One issue here is our terminology.   Using the terms "deacon" and "deaconess" in this way causes unnecessary confusion and friction.   For the sake of "good order" we need to come up with terminology that properly distinguishes the two.
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

Charles_Austin

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #87 on: August 14, 2013, 04:36:11 PM »
So pin a rose on you. But what about those who are called, qualified, and needed, but - for reasons beyond their control, or because it requires skills and energies they may not have - can't do all that you did? Should their call from God be thwarted? Is there only one way to be a deaconess? Is there only one "order" of deaconesses possible; is there only one way to train and discipline them? Some may eschew any liturgical role, but if some do have a role in assisting a pastor to lead worship, is that terrible?

Mr. Edmon, are not "deacon" and "deaconess" two different words?

Harry Edmon

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #88 on: August 14, 2013, 04:44:48 PM »
So pin a rose on you. But what about those who are called, qualified, and needed, but - for reasons beyond their control, or because it requires skills and energies they may not have - can't do all that you did? Should their call from God be thwarted? Is there only one way to be a deaconess? Is there only one "order" of deaconesses possible; is there only one way to train and discipline them? Some may eschew any liturgical role, but if some do have a role in assisting a pastor to lead worship, is that terrible?

Mr. Edmon, are not "deacon" and "deaconess" two different words?
Not necessarily.   Actor and actress are technically two different words, but they describe the same job.   Actress is the female gender specific version of actor.   Thus one could easily infer that the same thing is true of deacon and deaconess.

Harry Edmon, PhD  (just to tweak Charles a little bit!)
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Female Deacons?
« Reply #89 on: August 14, 2013, 04:47:12 PM »
...the distrinct [sic] guidelines seem to allow women to preach or preside...

Why do you say they "seem" to, when the English is quite clear? 

"4.3 Members of the district diaconate shall neither preside at the Holy Eucharist
nor exercise the Office of the Keys. In the absence of an ordained pastor
and with approval of the pastor and congregation, the deacon may
serve at the divine service including the communion liturgy using
reserved sacrament. This practice should be used sparingly so as to not
confuse the “Office of Deacon” and the “Office of Pastor.” The deacon
may officiate at funerals under the direction of a supervising pastor. The
deacon may proclaim the Gospel in formal and informal settings after
he/she has received training in homiletics and while remaining under
the supervision of an ordained pastor."
(http://www.ad-lcms.org/images/stories/pdfs/FINALADDiaconateGuidelines-Feb2010.pdf)

The only thing that "seems" ambiguous is whether or not the authors who wrote the clear guidelines wrote them intending to allow women to preach and preside in the LCMS, as deacons for now. 

"It was a step."

Just who are you accusing of what?  If you have evidence that the AD leadership is being disingenuous in their denials that women are being encouraged to preach, lay it on the table.

Dan
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