Saint David’s will receive The Rev. Burns Rogers as our new deacon. Sunday, July 9 will be his first Sunday with us. Deacons have been part of the Church since the earliest days. Acts 6:1-6 relates the story of the first deacons who were charged with feeding the poor. (Stephan receives the special distinction of being both the first deacon and the first martyr, as we read about on Sunday, May 14.) The Book of Common Prayer designates the ministry of deacons as “a special ministry of servanthood directly under the bishop.” Deacons are to “serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely.” (BCP, p. 543) Additionally, bishops charge deacons with bringing the concerns of the most vulnerable back into the Church, helping churches address these needs. Deacons also serve in the liturgy. They carry, read and proclaim the Gospel, they set the table, and they distribute the elements. They also assist in other facets of parish life, such as Formation and Community.
The Rev. Burns Rogers is a vocational deacon. This means that as Burns is a full-time epidemiologist with the Metro Public Health Department, he will only be serving at Saint David’s a few hours per week, including Sundays. He will serve at both services on Sunday as Gospeller and distributor of bread in addition to setting the table. And he will preach from time to time. Burns is also a gifted teacher and he would like to be involved with this aspect of our parish life was well. However, his service is not to exceed 30 hours per month.
Earlier this year the Bishop approached me about assigning a deacon to Saint David’s. He said that he believed that Saint David’s would benefit from the ministry and direction a deacon offers. From my experience during the search process and my continued discernment through observation and discussion, I understand Saint David’s as being on the cusp of finding a way to organize its service in the West Nashville community. Burns’ particular “heart for the poor,” to use the Bishop’s words, along with his experience and aptitudes offers Saint David’s a wonderful opportunity to live out some of the dreams for service we have talked about.
Burns comes to us from Saint Paul’s in Franklin. Ordained to the diaconate at the 2014 Diocesan Convention, Burns is an Education for Ministry (EFM) Mentor and the EFM Diocesan Coordinator. He has served two terms on Bishop and Council and was the Advisory Board Chairman for Mid-Cumberland Mountain Ministry for several years. He currently serves on the Task Force on the Relief of the Poor and The Dandridge Trust Board. We look forward to July 9 when we can welcome Burns during our worship and with a special reception between our services.
On behalf of Saint David’s, I am honored that the Bishop chose Saint David’s for the service of a deacon. Burns will enrich our worship and augment our mission and ministry as we move forward into God’s dream for our service to West Nashville. I hope you will come see me or contact me if you have questions or reflections about this exciting addition to our parish.
In the peace of Christ,
The Rev. Carolyn Coleman