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Helping Deacons Thrive

When diaconal coaches Helen VanBeilen and Alicia Hamming Navarrete reached out to the deacons of Jubilee CRC (St. Catharines, Ont.), they were delighted to be invited to one of their upcoming meetings. The deacons there were struggling with their benevolence ministry and hoped the coaches could help.

Essentially, they were asking “is the help we’re giving really helping?” and “how much help is ‘too much.’” VanBeilen and Hamming Navarrete quickly put together a listening exercise in order to ask some clarifying questions to help guide the deacons.

“We wanted to ask them the right questions that would lead to ideas and ways that they could solve the issue without us just giving answers and ideas,” Hamming Navarrete recalled.

VanBeilen and Hamming Navarrete shared some helpful resources with the deacons, including two videos by the Chalmers Center based on “helping without harming” principles and walked them through what was offered on Diaconal Ministries Canada’s website.

“Helen and Alicia took our questions and concerns seriously, they affirmed what we were already doing and provided positive and comprehensive feedback,” shared Ingrid Beck, the previous chair of deacons at Jubilee. “I really can’t express the appreciation we had as a group in meeting them and being able to share our concerns.”

During their time together, the deacons also received some ideas on how to process requests for tuition assistance, and walked away with some creative ways to ask for offerings, which they hope to implement this coming fall.

With approximately one diaconal coach per classis, deacons across Canada are encouraged to utilize their support and expertise. “Helping deacons in whatever ways we can is what coaching is all about!” VanBeilen shared.

To see the full list of Diaconal Coaches and/or to view other tools and resources Diaconal Ministries offers, deacons are encouraged to visit their website.


  • Erin Knight

    Communications Coordinator for Diaconal Ministries Canada

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