Six years of diaconal ministry

Sorrento Centre ED Michael Shapcott looks back and looks ahead

Six years ago – on December 4, 2016 – Michael Shapcott was ordained to diaconal ministry at Church of the Holy Trinity – Trinity Square in the Diocese of Toronto of the Anglican Church of Canada. Four and one-half years ago, Michael accepted a posting as Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre. He is now licensed for diaconal ministry at St Mary’s Anglican / United and at the Sorrento Centre in the Diocese of Kootenay of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“All Christians are bound to love God and love our neighbours,” said Michael in a homily at St. Mary’s on December 4, 2022. “Deacons put loving kindness at the centre of their lives and ministry. We are called to deep engagement with our neighbours in loving and practical ways. My life before ordination was bound up with loving service, determined advocacy for justice, deep engagement with my neighbours – especially those who experience social, financial, racial, gender and other forms of injustice…”

At Michael’s ordination service in 2016, Deacon Maylanne Maybee noted that service, in the 21st century, has developed a blurred reputation: “I used to emphasize the “servanthood” aspect of that Greek word, diakonia, but have discovered a richer and more nuanced meaning. There’s a popular theory that diakonia means “through the dust”. It conveys the idea of a fast-moving messenger, a courier or go-between, someone who urgently carries important news from one person to another… It is not a coincidence that men and women in the diaconal tradition felt called to fulfill a particular task or mission…”

In Michael’s 2022 homily, he said this: “In our world, material self-interest is the governing principle. Money talks. Billionaires with riches beyond anything the world has seen command leadership. Might makes right. Where there is injustice, it is considered the natural order of things, a consequence of an economic and social order that puts profits before people. 

“Now, imagine a world where loving kindness, respect for the dignity and value of everyone, justice and equity, set the basic standards for how we live and how we treat each other… The almighty power of the dominant social and economic order has always sought to crowd out any vision of a better world. Even today, the dream of God for social, economic, gender, climate, racial and cultural justice can seem remote, idealistic and irrelevant…”

“…And so, on this the 6th anniversary of my ordination to diaconal ministry, I recall the beautiful and gentle admonition from Paul recorded in Second Thessalonians 3: 13: ‘Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.’ The Revised English Bible translates it this way: ‘My friends, you must never tire of doing right.’ The Common English Bible says this: ‘Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right.'” For Michael’s 2022 Homily click below.

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