Unexpected Consequences

The Diaconate Renewed

Susanne Watson Epting

May/2015, 208 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819229793



• First book in years to look critically at the diaconate in the Episcopal Church

Times change, and the Order of Deacons in the Episcopal Church has not remained static. While the book seeks to update contemporary knowledge about deacons, it also shows how the diaconate may be well positioned to lead the church into change that cuts across governance, formation, and ministry. While the institutional church struggles with its structure and purpose, working to change its reality and perception, the book suggests that there are diaconal leaders who have been working all along for this kind of change.

The book chronicles ways in which one church order has grown, matured, adapted, adjusted, and is as effective as it is because of its dynamic nature. It is hoped that other orders might learn from the importance of being adaptable, contextual, and baptismal, while highlighting the primary lens deacons look through as they seek to fulfill what the church has called them to do.

For the 3,000 deacons active in the Episcopal Church, plus those involved in diocesan schools for ministry, those considering a call to the diaconate, those engaged in Education for Ministry, educators, and seminarians.

Read an excerpt

Ordained as a deacon for twenty four years, Susanne Watson Epting has served in multiple professional church roles, including director of the Institute for Christian Studies and as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Iowa. She also has served as a ministry development consultant, edited a resource for the former Office for Women's Ministries on the Beijing Platform for Action, published in Women's Uncommon Prayers, the Anglican Theological Review, and other places, and also wrote the foreword for Ormonde Plater's book, Deacons in the Liturgy, also from Morehouse. She served as a board member of the Association for Episcopal Deacons for eight years and as its director for ten. She lives in Davenport, Iowa.

Filled with the voices from the last thirty-five-plus years, this is the fullest, spirited account of the birth of the diaconate in The Episcopal Church as servant, prophet, vanguard, and sacrament of Christ's ministry given in baptism. For the sake of the church, this is a book for all, which should be engaged in congregations and dioceses and should be required for all who may be ordained and who are already ordained.
—Timothy F. Sedgwick            
The Clinton S. Quin Professor of Christian Ethics, Virginia Theological Seminary  

This well-researched book invites us into a rich exploration of the diaconate, as it has re-emerged and steadily gained strength in The Episcopal Church. Unexpected Consequences also charts the story of the church’s movement from establishment to mission, and from mere self-perpetuation to risk-taking service in the world. Epting clearly shows how deacons have led this charge, and in so doing, provides persuasive evidence of the Spirit’s movement in our midst.
—Thomas Breidenthal
Diocese of Southern Ohio  

In this astonishing and comprehensive work, Susanne Watson Epting views the diaconate through her prophetic lens, and helps us understand why articulating diaconal theology has been, and is likely to remain, so challenging. Reading it made me feel like the Samaritan woman at the well: Susanne has “told me everything I have ever done” in my twenty-seven-year diaconate. Unexpected Consequencesis essential reading for deacons, priests and bishops as deacons create their place in the reimagined Episcopal Church.  
—Deacon Lori Mills-Curran
St. Andrew’s, Framingham, Massachusetts (St. Andrew's)
Executive Director, Association for Episcopal Deacons (AED)  

Praise for this much-needed book on the Diaconate! Epting writes passionately and clearly about the continual process of living into what it means to be a deacon and the ways in which deacons continue to claim their role as interpreters for both the church and the world as they minister to all as servant, teacher, and prophetic leader.
—The Rev. Shannon Kelly
Acting Missioner for Campus and Young Adult Ministries, The Episcopal Church Center

Click For a Book Preview


You May Also Like

Being a Deacon Today

Rosalind Brown$22.95

Deacons and the Church:

John N. Collins$25.95

Deacons in the Liturgy

Ormonde Plater, foreword by Susanne Watson Epting$20.95

Mission-shaped Church

Archbishop's Council on Mission and Public Affairs$26.95

Undiscovered Country

Peter S. Hawkins$17.95

Mission-shaped Parish

Paul Bayes, Tim Sledge, John Holbrook$21.95

God’s Church for God’s World

Edited by Robert S. Heaney, John Kafwanka K, and Hilda Kabia. Foreword by Justin Welby$29.95