The Role of Deacon: A Call to Servanthood
When does the call to believe and follow Christ happen? In childhood? In the midst of a traumatic event? At the time of transition? Yes, yes, yes. It happens to each person uniquely and can come at any time, in the midst of any situation.
Lyn Baker’s call to Christ was dramatic and instantaneous. It happened in her late 20s. “I was not a believer one day, and was a believer the next day,” she explains. “Just a few weeks later I had an encounter with Corrie ten Boom that was also life-changing. As a result of that, I was exposed to baptism in the Holy Spirit as a very young Christian.” From then on she was very committed to listen, obey God and live life in fellowship with him.
Her journey with God has led to the significant milestone of being ordained this week as deacon with the Anglican Church in America. In doing so, she becomes the 12th deacon currently serving in the AMiA, and the sixth female to be filling that role.
Lyn’s first encounter with the AMiA came through All Saints Dallas (ASD). She learned about “a new church plant” in Dallas while living in Morocco. Friends steered her toward it as she planned a transition to Texas. Like many, Lyn reports that she “came the first time and never left.” She was attracted to the balance the AMiA emphasizes through its three-stream approach, attending to the Spirit, the Sacraments and the Scripture with equal focus. “That balance was just right for me in the way the I perceive the faith and the way I prefer to practice it.”
Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a private school director in the U.S. and abroad, Lyn has served on staff with ASD as Director of Family Ministries for the last five years.
And while her gifts, talents and joys enable her to provide professional and kind leadership to families, Lyn admits that her passion and call is to be a companion to others as they go through transitions in life. To be equipped for that, Lyn completed a two-year certificate program in spiritual direction from the Perkins School of Theology. This program was extremely significant for Lyn personally, but also prepared her to be a listening, supportive sojourner with others. It opened the door for her to offer spiritual direction to members of the AMiA and other believers.
Soon after completing the spiritual direction certificate, Lyn entered into the rigorous studies and discernment process to become a deacon with the AMiA.
Going through an orthodox diaconate process helped Lyn to cement her foundations in the faith and broaden her vision for serving and helping others. “A lot of my journey has been learning to navigate the suffering in the world without losing faith,” Lyn shared. Her training as deacon and in spiritual direction has better prepared her to help others as they encounter suffering, transition and deepening faith. “I enjoyed the training, but it was a lot harder than I expected it to be,” she admits.
According to Lyn, “In the Anglican tradition, a deacon’s whole focus is on servanthood. They are to serve and to assist. They specifically focus on the ‘least among us’—those who are poor, needy, lonely, in distress.”
Although Lyn will continue in her position with family ministries and her ministry as a spiritual director, the role of deacon requires her to:
- study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them and model her life upon them.
- make Christ and his redemptive love known, by her word and example to those among whom she lives and works and worships.
- interpret to the Church the needs, concerns and hopes of the world.
- assist the bishop and priest in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments.
- at all times, show Christ’s people, through her life and teaching, that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.*
To learn more about Lyn’s ministry in spiritual direction, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in knowing more about becoming a deacon, contact your clergy to learn about the path.
*List quoted from the Deacon Ordination Service