By Sister Noreen Stevens, Directing Deaconess

“It is the Lord who goes before you and will be with you. The Lord will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

These prayerful words were shared with me as I began as the Directing Deaconess and met with the other members of our Community’s Leadership Team, on November 1. The words were a gift as we sat together and talked through policies, procedures, looked at calendars, and considered our roles in relationship with one another, our Community and our partners. The words were a resounding, sustaining motivation as we begin our shared ministry.

At our very core, as Community, this is what we do. We come together in SHARED MINISTRY as we respond to God’s mission. In the last months, we have seen this through the faithful response of sisters who moved into interim roles during a time of transition in our community. We give thanks for the shared ministry of Sr. Michelle Collins, Sr. Anne Hall, Sr. Mary Julie McKenzie and Sr. LaDonna Olson as they shared their gifts, expertise and wisdom with us.

Now, as we move out of the transition, we continue asking faithful questions as a community. We are dwelling in the “love of Christ which compels us,” (II Corinthians 5:14), focusing on our shared ministry of diakonia, and our structure, as we also move with the ELCA into one roster of Word and Service ministry. It is an energizing time in our Community, as we dwell in God’s faithfulness, focus on the whole of our community and continue to grow partnerships and celebrate ministries of diakonia.

Through our Mission Grants and Deaconess Ministry Initiatives, we continue to invest in diakonia across the country and the world. We provide resources for schools, non-profits, prisons, and shelters, who share God’s love with the vulnerable and the hurting.

Our ECO Task Force (Exploring Community Organization) is working toward a holistic assessment of our organizational processes so that our core values and mission are enhanced rather than hindered by our structure.

We continue to receive advocacy invitations from Boston Common, our asset management company. We intentionally sought an asset management company that would use our resources and voices “to improve companies’ practices and to advance the global dialogue toward a sustainable economy.”

And recently, I sat with the DOTAC* board and with them, gave thanks for one of our primary purposes as a group – “to reflect on the nature of diakonia in the New Testament and the task of bringing diakonia into the world.” It is a gift to sit with partners and together consider the fear and division in our streets, which calls to us to listen and together bring a prophetic voice of diakonia into the world.

It is an energizing time in our Community as we dwell in the words of Deuteronomy, work with our faithful partners and share in ministry as we boldly respond to the fear and hurting in the world through diakonia.

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*DOTACDiakonia of the Americas and Caribbean – we are a member of this ecumenical group of Christian diaconal organizations in the Americas and Caribbean.