Diakonia is a two-year process of spiritual formation and theological education for baptized members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or anyone wishing in good faith to study these teachings. This process occurs in three basic ways:
What is Diakonia?
- By thorough grounding in practical, systematic, historical, and biblical theology.
- By identifying particular skills and aptitudes in ministry, and encouraging their use in daily life.
- By providing spiritual growth through worship, retreats, and a supportive community of students, mentors, and instructors.
The Diakonia program began in 1977 in New York, and almost 1,600 people have completed the program since. The program was founded by the Rev. Stephen Bouman, who developed Diakonia to train lay people to be servants of the Lord – as he has frequently said, “to take the message of the font and the table (altar) out the front door of the church into the community.”
What is the emphasis of Diakonia?
The purpose of the Diakonia program is to provide participants the opportunity to discover their God-given gifts, and strengthen their faith and their abilities. Through the Diakonia educational experience, students’ understanding of theology and their relationship to God are allowed to blossom and bear fruit as a light of Christ in society.
How is Diakonia structured?
The Diakonia curriculum consists of twelve courses, six per academic year, all graded on a pass-fail basis. Each course lasts five weeks, with a three-hour classroom session each week. All of the courses are introductory in nature, and each includes weekly readings and assignments. Typically, students average approximately three to five hours of study per week in addition to class time.
Is Diakonia right for me?
Diakonia emphasizes the baptismal vocation of all Christians to serve as did our Lord Jesus. Participants are often already leaders in their parishes and have a high degree of commitment to the ministry of the Church. They want to deepen their life of faith and ground their commitment to serve in fulfillment of their baptismal promises: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. They are committed to serve through the Church in a variety of ways: teaching, administration, liturgical leadership, action for social justice, evangelism, visitation of the sick, community organization, youth work, ministry among the elderly, and the like.
How much does Diakonia cost?
Tuition: Tuition is $360 per year (for the two-year program), or $60 per course. Students may pay the total upfront or pay per course, with $60 due the first day of each course. Books and materials generally do not exceed $30 per course, and students have the option of purchasing used books or, in many cases, borrowing them.
Fees: A non-refundable registration fee of $25 is required at the time of registration. An additional fee at the conclusion of the program covers graduation expenses, including the presentation of a commemorative Diakonia cross.
How do I learn more or sign up for Diakonia?
Contact St. Paul’s office at (740) 726-2770 for more information and signup forms.