Living into Baptism through Diakonia

Diakonia is a strange Greek word. It is often translated as service. But diakonia means much more than simply doing things for others. It is an essential part of Christian identity and discipleship. It is about who we are and what we do as followers of Christ. Through baptism, we join not only the “priesthood of all believers” but also the “diaconate of all believers.”

Caption: Bishop John Schol (center) met with EPA Deacons before a larger meeting with all clergy Nov. 9, 2022, at Hopewell UMC.

Read the entire article on the website of the Eastern PA Conference of the UMC.

Listen to Episode 411: “The Diaconate Call & Bivocational Ministry,” Uncovered Dish Christian Leadership Podcast, Sept 13, 2023.

What does a politics of peace look like?

I am honored to be one of the presenters for Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness, Oct 22, 2023, at James Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster. Our topic is “Liberating the Politics of Jesus.” Please join us!

When politics is reduced to statecraft and peace to the absence of war, we miss the radical implications of the gospel message. Through the wisdom of Anabaptist women, we learn that peacemaking must be practiced at home and in church as well as the home front and the front lines. Liberating the radical political ethic of Jesus Christ from patriarchal distortions, these theologians demonstrate that gender justice and peace theology are inseparable.

Dr. Linda Gehman Peachey is former Director of Women’s Advocacy for the Mennonite Central Committee US and a freelance writer and teacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Soto Albrecht is a Lancaster scholar, advocate, and pastor. She is former Moderator of Mennonite Church USA, 2013–2015, and served as Global Theological Education advisor at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Darryl W. Stephens is a professor, writer, and advocate. He is ordained in The United Methodist Church with dual standing in the United Church of Christ and teaches at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

The Diaconate Call

Diakonia is a form of Christian motivated social service. It is originally modeled on Jesus’s insistence on serving his disciples (Luke 22:26–27) and its expressions in Acts and the early church. Today, diakonia is focused not only on serving others but also advocating for others, empowering them, and joining them in solidarity to build participatory community.

Diakonia is a call to all Christians to alleviate suffering and promote justice, peace, and human dignity. One colleague of mine said simply, “Diakonia is Gospel action.” To learn more, join me in conversation by listening to this recent podcast interview.

Ep. 411 The Diaconate Call & Bivocational Ministry with Darryl Stephens, Uncovered Dish Christian Leadership Podcast, September 13, 2023.

A Bivocational Future for Congregations

What is the fasted growing segment of North American Christianity? So many congregations have lost membership over the past twenty years, this question may surprise you.

Faith Communities Today, “Twenty Years of Congregational Change: The 2020 Faith Communities Today Overview” (Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 2021),, 11.

If you are wondering if there is a pocket of Christianity still growing, you are halfway to uncovering the trick in this trick question. When larger congregations lose members, they become smaller congregations. Small membership churches are thus the fastest growing segment of North American Christianity.

Sometimes current exigencies force us into a creative future. There is hope for smaller congregations willing to consider a bivocational future of shared mission and ministry. I believe that a bivocational future provides exciting missional potential.

Please join me at the upcoming Henderson Leadership Conference hosted by Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on Sept 24–26, 2023, where I will present an online workshop, “Thriving as a Bivocational Congregation.” This workshop provides lay and clergy leaders with a vision and plan for transformation.

Registration and Information: