September 15, 2023 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News
Deacons and deaconesses throughout Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory will take part in an online program on Sep. 23, 2023. The event will become the first ever from the Ministerial Association as a launching point to formally highlight and appreciate the work of thousands of deacons and deaconesses.
“We have been wanting to hold a territory-wide event in person for more than four years since the General Conference placed the ministry of deacons and deaconesses to be overseen by the Ministerial Association in each Division territory, a little over six years ago,” said Pastor Josney Rodríguez, ministerial association secretary of the IAD and main organizer of the event. The plan was to gather in one venue but, due to some challenges, church leaders will gather their local church deacons and deaconesses regionally to take part in the online event, he said.The two-hour program will be part of an official certification training which will be followed each year throughout the territory. The training will highlight the ministry and duties of church deacons and deaconesses, said Rodríguez.
“Deacons and deaconesses have the responsibility, together with church elders, to ‘shepherd’ the congregation each week,” said Rodríguez. Unfortunately, most of their functions have been limited to greeting, assisting in communion services, collecting tithes and offerings and opening and closing the church, but it goes beyond that, he added.
The main task of each deacon and deaconess is to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of the church, explained Rodríguez, and “that is the important thing we want to highlight.” The pastoral role of deacons and deaconesses is part of the “anteroom work” of the church elder. “It’s an essential and joint ministry following Christ’s model of leadership in preaching, healing and educating through discipleship alongside elders and church leaders.”
The online council event will include a special segment where the more than 90,000 deacons and deaconesses will be recognized for their dedicated service at their local churches and local fields. The initiative will set the stage for a more thorough certification training throughout the IAD.
Inter-American Division’s Deacons and Deaconesses Council will be carried in English, Spanish and French, on Sep. 23, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Miami Time on webcast.interamerica.org