Diakonal Minister Community


The healing and service ministry of Jesus Christ is advanced by Diakonal Ministers whose work is characterized by servant leadership. Since 1996, more than 150 leaders in CHHSM have been consecrated as Diakonal Ministers.

As leaders who share a distinct vocation, Diakonal Ministers enter a community of mutual support. They find kindred spirits who encourage and hold each other accountable to a way of leading that connects professional excellence with faith-based purpose. Saying yes to this calling and this community, these leaders choose a path that others have followed for several hundred years.

In its meetings in 2010, CHHSM's Leadership Formation Task Force considered the concept of a covenantal community of practice for Diakonal Ministers. Participating, back row from left, were David McCurdy, Daniel Pryfogle, Victoria Velez, Dee Brown-Daniels, John Thomas, Darlene Sowell and, seated, Bryan Sickbert and Stacey Parke. The task force's ideas are helping to reshape the Diakonal Minister program.

Diakonal ministry – service in the name of Jesus Christ – has been a hallmark of the United Church of Christ and its predecessor denominations from the beginning. The Congregational community of 17th century North America and the European Pietistic movement of the same period emphasized the church’s social responsibility. These groups established educational ministries and diakonal institutions to serve the poor, sick and disabled. The Pietistic movement, brought to the U.S. by immigrants who would eventually establish the Evangelical and Reformed Church, opened hospitals and orphanages in response to war and epidemics. Homes for the aging were established in addition to special residences for people with disabilities.

Serving these ministries both in Europe and in America were members of the Deaconess movement, a movement that continues today through the work of health and human service institutions affiliated with churches of the Reformed tradition. CHHSM’s Diakonal Ministers carry on this legacy in their organizations.   They network, share resources and consult with each other through their facebook group, CHHSM Diakonal Ministers.

CHHSM has required a yearlong preparatory program for Diakonal Ministers. From 1996-2009, two programs prepared leaders for consecration: the Transformational Leadership Program and the Faith-Based Leadership Institute. CHHSM is currently in the process of launching a new leadership formation program -- The Nollau Institute.   To learn more about CHHSM's leadership formation opportunities, contact CHHSM Program Associate Danielle Bartz