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‘Who Do You Think We Are?’

Diaconal Ministries Canada works to inspire, empower, and equip deacons

Driving down a main road in my hometown, I often pass the large golden arches of McDonalds. Underneath the arches it reads, “Over 99 Billion Served.” That’s a lot of hungry people fed! It is also a lot of people who know this restaurant. I suspect that there aren’t many people on earth who haven’t heard of McDonalds or a Big Mac.

This got me thinking about Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC). While we can’t claim to have served 99 billion people, DMC has been working hard to inspire, empower, and equip deacons across Canada for over 17 years. And yet, on a recent road trip to Winnipeg and Northern Ontario, Ron VandenBrink, National Director for DMC, heard deacons say, “We had no idea DMC existed!”

I’m not going to lie, that stings a little. Not because we think we’re such a big deal, but because we think DEACONS are a big deal and we want them to feel supported and encouraged in the work that they do. We hope that every deacon is made aware of DMC so that every deacon can connect with us and receive the support they need. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to tell the DMC story:

In the late 1950’s, some of the first “Diaconal Conferences” were formed in the Christian Reformed Church. From the Maritimes to British Columbia, deacons used these regionalized “conferences” to gather together for a time of sharing experiences and resources, developing training events/workshops, and finding ways to assist each other and their congregations. While the number of conferences expanded and contracted over the years, at one point there were 10 Christian Reformed “Diaconal Conferences” across Canada!
Finally, in 1998, at a Classis Renewal Gathering in Chicago, Canadian representatives from the various Diaconal Conferences, Home Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) and CRWRC (now World Renew), met over lunch and began dreaming about forming an umbrella organization that could oversee the training of deacons right across Canada.

Soon the napkins on that table (the only paper they had available) were filled with circles, triangles and arrows, symbolizing the ideas for how deacons could be connected from east to west and west to east. It was an exciting time and, after a few more years of discussions and planning, Diaconal Ministries Canada was formally constituted in 2001. 

The funding model, which had served each regional conference so well for so many years, was adopted by the national organization. DMC soon hired staff and began organizing training materials, creating a robust website and running regional events. It has continued to grow and thrive ever since.

Whether you’ve known about DMC for a long time or just read about it now, Diaconal Ministries Canada is here to inspire, empower and equip deacons as they animate their churches to engage communities, to live stewardly and to promote mercy and justice. If you’re looking for more information or resources on how to do that, check out diaconalministries.com, email gro.ancrc@cmd, or call 1-800-730-3490.

Oh, and if you’re craving two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce and cheese, you know where to go for that! 

– This article was made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.

  • Communications Coordinator for Diaconal Ministries Canada

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