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Purpose

To lead the congregation to a deeper Christian faith and commitment to the mission of First Parish Church. To assist in the administration of Holy Communion; to aid the pastor(s) and other Boards generally in the spiritual guidance of the membership -- visiting the sick and needy and showing Christian fellowship to newcomers attending our services. The Diaconate shall be empowered to act for the Church overseeing the committees of the Church in receiving new members, in dismissal of members or the granting of letters of transfer to another church, overseeing committees for which it has oversight, and in all ways contributing to the good of the Church.

Responsibilities

  1. Offers advice and counsel to the pastors and to other boards and committees concerned with spiritual matters, including Christian Education, Mission Outreach, Memorials, Pastoral Relations, Caregiving Ministries, Flowers, Hospitality, and others deemed appropriate by the Church Council and the pastors.
  2. Assists in worship on Sunday and special church services and administering Holy Communion. Individual committee members are assigned duties specific to each service, including bell ringing, ushering, collecting, assisting with communion, baptisms, and other services as needed by the pastors.
  3. Provides  for the supply of the pulpit during vacation, illness, or sabbatical leave of the pastor(s).
  4. Provides a lay ministry to the people of the church who are ill or in need, authorizing funds for such purpose as needed.
  5. Oversees the church’s policies regarding such matters as baptisms, holy communion, Active and Inactive Members, and receiving new members.

Membership

There are at least twelve, but not more than twenty members of this board, with the intention of being equally disributed between men and women. Individuals are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the active church membership at the annual meeting for a term of three years.

The Diaconate typically meets once a month, at predetermined times, at the church. Meetings have a prepared agenda and minutes are taken. Non-members attend by invitation. An annual summary report is made for publication to the church membership for review at the annual meeting.