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Shaken by the Wind

NZ joins Worldwide Federation of Deacons

Shaken by the Wind.

NZ Anglican Vocational Deacons become part of the ecumenical world-wide federation of Deacons.

‘Shaken by the Wind’ was the theme of this year’s international conference for Deacons. Fittingly, The Ven. Anne Russell-Brighty, Archdeacon for the Household of Deacons in Christchurch, has been elected one of two vice-chairs for the Asia Pacific region. This begins the New Zealand connection with the ecumenical world-wide federation of Deacons-DIAKONIA. The Asia Pacific region is one of three global areas that form the federation, hence Anne now has a place on the world wide executive Committee of DIAKONIA. Their work involves communication and support across the different denominations and varied expressions of diaconal ministry: from the traditional Lutheran motherhouses in Europe, Asia and Africa to the newer forms of diaconal ministry in the Lutheran and Uniting Churches of Canada, USA and Australia and  to ordained deacons as we know them in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ.


 Anne attended the Gathering in Chicago during July where over 400 Deacons, Deaconesses and Diaconal ministers from 28 countries met together.  It was here that Anne was elected. The Gathering takes place every four years, the next being in Darwin 2021, where Anne will be involved in the planning. Between Gatherings, the members of each Region meet together with a real sense of mutual support and excitement sharing and learning from each other.

Local Deacons make history as they gather for ongoing professional development.

 Thanks to the support of the St. John’s College Trust Board, Anglican Deacons met for their five day residential Deacon School in Wellington this May, tutored and led by Rev Anne Russell-Brighty. Methodist Deacons were welcomed this year. Rev Sandy Boyce, a Uniting Church Deacon in Adelaide, currently President of DIAKONIA worldwide, spoke to us on the history and current work of this servanthood federation, where globally we see immense diversity in expression and structure of diaconal ministry.

During the week, Deacons voted to form  Diakonia Aotearoa New Zealand Association (DANZA) electing Anne as President. New Zealand thus becomes part of Diakonia Asia and Pacific, joining Australia and fifteen other associations. Three large regions make up the Diakonia Federation worldwide :  Asia and Pacific, the Americas, and  Europe and Africa. The purpose of DANZA is to encourage and support the ecumenical diaconal community and to foster an understanding of the history, traditions and function of the diaconate. Diaconal ministry, in its divergent expressions is thriving around the world.  Meeting together in Wellington, electing officers and speaking about the future as DANZA, deacons felt excited to be part of a much larger movement. There was a strong sense that mission focused diaconal ministry is life giving to our churches and communities. We trust that this enthusiasm will give new momentum to encourage others to consider ministry as a Vocation Deacon.

To find out more and view the papers presented at the Chicago Gathering see

Rev Juliet Drage and Rev Mary Maxwell       August 2017


Deacon School gathered in Wellington, May 2017. Unfortunately, our treasured male Deacons were unavailable for this photo. Sandy is kneeling on the right in the photo; with Deacon Anne standing at her shoulder wearing a scarf. 

Story Published: 6th of September - 2017

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