Unexpected Consequences

The Diaconate Renewed

Susanne Watson Epting

May/2015, 208 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819229793



A critical look at the diaconate in the Episcopal Church

Times change, and the Order of Deacons in the Episcopal Church has not remained static. While the book seeks to update contemporary knowledge about deacons, it also shows how the diaconate may be well positioned to lead the church into change that cuts across governance, formation, and ministry. While the institutional church struggles with its structure and purpose, working to change its reality and perception, the book suggests that there are diaconal leaders who have been working all along for this kind of change.

The book chronicles ways in which one church order has grown, matured, adapted, adjusted, and is as effective as it is because of its dynamic nature. It is hoped that other orders might learn from the importance of being adaptable, contextual, and baptismal, while highlighting the primary lens deacons look through as they seek to fulfill what the church has called them to do.

"Ordained as a deacon for 24 years, Susanne Watson Epting has served in multiple professional church roles, including director of the Institute for Christian Studies and as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Iowa. She also has served as a ministry development consultant, edited a resource for the former Office for Women’s Ministries on the Beijing Platform for Action, published in Women’s Uncommon Prayers, the Anglican Theological Review, and other places, and also wrote the foreword for Ormond Plater’s book, Deacons in the Liturgy, also from Morehouse. She served as a board member ofthe Association for Episcopal Deacons for eight years and as its director for ten. She lives in Davenport, Iowa."

“Filled with the voices from the last thirty-five-plus years, this is the fullest, spirited account of the birth of the diaconate in The Episcopal Church as servant, prophet, vanguard, and sacrament of Christ's ministry given in baptism. For the sake of the church, this is a book for all, which should be engaged in congregations and dioceses and should be required for all who may be ordained and who are already ordained.” —Timothy F. Sedgwick, The Clinton S. Quin Professor of Christian Ethics, Virginia Theological Seminary

“This well-researched book invites us into a rich exploration of the diaconate, as it has re-emerged and steadily gained strength in The Episcopal Church. Unexpected Consequences also charts the story of the church’s movement from establishment to mission, and from mere self-perpetuation to risk-taking service in the world. Epting clearly shows how deacons have led this charge, and in so doing, provides persuasive evidence of the Spirit’s movement in our midst.” —Thomas Breidenthal, Diocese of Southern Ohio

“In this astonishing and comprehensive work, Susanne Watson Epting views the diaconate through her prophetic lens, and helps us understand why articulating diaconal theology has been, and is likely to remain, so challenging. Reading it made me feel like the Samaritan woman at the well: Susanne has ‘told me everything I have ever done’ in my twenty-seven-year diaconate. Unexpected Consequencesis essential reading for deacons, priests and bishops as deacons create their place in the reimagined Episcopal Church.” —Deacon Lori Mills-Curran, St. Andrew’s, Framingham, Massachusetts (St. Andrew's), Executive Director, Association for Episcopal Deacons (AED)

“Praise for this much-needed book on the Diaconate! Epting writes passionately and clearly about the continual process of living into what it means to be a deacon and the ways in which deacons continue to claim their role as interpreters for both the church and the world as they minister to all as servant, teacher, and prophetic leader.” —The Rev. Shannon Kelly, Acting Missioner for Campus and Young Adult Ministries, The Episcopal Church Center

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