A History of the Community
In 1993, following a five year study, the ELCA Task Force for the Study of Ministry recommended the establishment of diaconal ministry as a new roster in the ELCA. They recommended that diaconal ministry be:
...a ministry of service and witness, exemplifying the life of Christ-like service to persons in need and leading and equipping the baptized for their life of service within and beyond the congregation ... Diaconal ministers will be ministers of the Word in that they will be spokespersons for the Gospel, the apostolic faith, and the theological emphases of this church to God's world. They will bear special responsibility to speak for the needs of God's world to the church.... Diaconal ministry should develop in response to emerging needs and, therefore, must be flexible enough to enable diaconal ministers to move into areas of service where the needs of persons and society are pressing the church for leadership and response.
This recommendation was adopted by the 1993 Churchwide Assembly meeting in Kansas City, thus birthing this new roster. This new roster came in addition to the historical roster of the ELCA Deaconesses which was reaffirmed at the same Churchwide Assembly. In 1995, the Churchwide Assembly approved the Rite of Consecration for both Diaconal Ministers and Deaconesses.
Read Together for Ministry to learn more about the history of diaconal ministry in the ELCA.