Diocese of Chichester

In the Church of England’s Ordinal, Deacons are ordained “so that the people of God may be better equipped to make Christ known. Theirs is a life of visible self-giving. Christ is the pattern of their calling and their commission; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others”. Deacons may teach, preach, baptise and lead the church community in prayer. They may have a particular care for the vulnerable and marginalised. Although, for all embarking on priestly ministry, the diaconate is transitional, the distinctiveness of the diaconate should not be lost, and there is a genuine validity in this ministry of service and proclaiming the Gospel being a particular vocation – not least as being a ministry that has its roots firmly in the earliest churches of the New Testament.

Some people feel called accordingly to remain as Deacons (thus called 'distinctive' deacons) who have a particular calling to be a bridge between the wider community and the Church, to a ministry of teaching, to a life of service directed towards the vulnerable and to bring their needs to the wider attention of the Church, not least through prayer.

How do I become a Deacon?

The discernment of whether you might have a calling to be a Deacon is much the same as for those who feel called to the Priesthood. However, the national Qualities for discernment are slightly different. Please see: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/vocations/preparing-ordained-ministry/understanding-discernment

After a period of careful discernment with the Diocesan Vocations Team and Director of Ordinands, you may embark on the national discernment process and be invited to meet a Sponsoring Bishop.

Given the significant teaching ministry of Deacons, you would be expected to undertake a similar training pathway to those preparing for the Priesthood. Candidates should know that the Diocese of Chichester does not offer stipendiary posts for Distinctive Deacons.


Rosalind Brown, Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World (Morehouse, 2005)

Canon Rebecca Swyer, Discerning vocation to the Distinctive Diaconate, https://cofedeacons.org/are-you-being-called/discerning-vocation-to-the-distinctive-diaconate-rebecca-swyer/