Celebrating the New Role of “Deaconess” at Our Church
The following is a letter was sent to our Christ Presbyterian congregation, announcing the new role of “deaconess” at our church. Links provided in the letter should explain the many reasons why we celebrate this new initiative. Please join us in prayer as we begin our long-awaited implementation with eleven amazing, commissioned women who will partner with our ordained deacons to design, implement, and lead our ministries of mercy. Thank you.
To our Christ Presbyterian Family,
As you are likely aware, we announced our first class of Deaconesses at CPC at our July 8 congregational meeting (you can view that announcement here).
As an essay I recently posted states in a much more comprehensive fashion than this one, the Christ Presbyterian elders wish to affirm and champion women in the full use of their gifts in the church. For this reason, women serve and lead among us already in multiple capacities. Talented, godly women serve our church faithfully in director-level staff positions, as teachers to children and youth as well as adults, as Connect group facilitators and leaders, as advisors to the various elder commissions, as encouragers, pray-ers, Scripture readers, testimony-givers, and lead musicians in our Sunday services…plus so much more!
Within what we and our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, embrace as a “complementarian” framework for the genders, we will celebrate and champion women in the full use of their God-given and biblically sanctioned gifts to serve the church. This will include, but will certainly not be limited to, the commissioned role of deaconess.
For a fuller explanation and biblical rationale, I highly encourage you to download and digest a brief essay I wrote called “Deaconesses and Other, Non-Ordained Leadership at Christ Presbyterian Church,” which has been approved by the CPC elders. You can download that essay by clicking here.
We are by no means the first church to commission deaconesses. Notable pastors and theologians like John Calvin, Benjamin Warfield, John Frame, Jerram Barrs, CEB Cranfield, James Montgomery Boice, Philip Ryken and Tim Keller have all taught and practiced their own versions of this. The same could be said of familiar, like-minded PCA churches Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City and Christ Community Church in Franklin, plus many others.
I hope you share my excitement about this new path for our church. It is a joy to be your pastor!
Scott Sauls, Senior Pastor
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Bravo Scott, both for Christ Presbyterian and the PCA! I too am of a more complementarian leaning but have never seen any reason why women should not be recognized as deaconesses. So glad to see conservative churches who seek to affirm and support women in the fullest possible sense within the church. Though we may not believe that women can be recognized as elder there are nonetheless meaningful ways that women can be invited to speak into the thinking and decision-making process of the elders. I think for instance of the formation of elder advisory boards (as you mentioned in your piece) made up of both men and women. Once again, bravo!