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Synod Parish Deacon

Are you being called to serve in the church in ways that are somehow different from the calling of a pastor? The Florida-Bahamas Synod has a Synod Parish Deacon Ministry in which synod parish deacons are commissioned for a ministry of Word and Service that flows from the pastoral office of Word and Sacrament and is accountable to it.

According to the constituting documents for the program (1998): “A Synodical Deacon is one who is inwardly compelled and outwardly affirmed for service in both the congregation and the world…. We understand a deacon as a particular minister with gifts and a calling for providing vision and practical leadership for the congregation’s ministries. Through their common calling and theological training, deacons, exercising their teaching responsibility, would assist the pastoral ministry in underpinning the particular ministries of their calling to the ministry of Word and Sacrament.”

Synod Parish Deacons in the Florida-Bahamas Synod serve only within the geographic confines of this synod and are not rostered as lay ministers in ELCA.

Resources for Synod Parish Deacons

This year’s Synod Parish Deacon Retreat (Sept. 6-7, Redeemer Lutheran, Winter Park)

AGENDA Synod Parish Deacon Retreat

Retreat Registration2019 (WORD)

Retreat Registration2019 (PDF)

Table Talk 2019

This overview of the Synod Parish Deacon ministry from 2010 provides helpful background, framework, and vision for Synod Parish Deacons.

Here a Deacon, There a Deacon, Everywhere a Deacon, Deacon“: A brief sampling of current uses of the title “Deacon” in the ELCA and beyond, by Bishop Bill Gafjken (Indiana-Kentucky) on behalf of the Transition and Communication Sub-Group, July 2014

Effective January 1, 2017:

Clarifications & Distinctions – Explanation of how the new title of “Synod Parish Deacon” developed and how Synod Parish Deacons are different from ELCA rostered Deacons.

Guidelines-Synod Parish Deacon-Oct. 2017

Commissioning-Parish Deacon-2017

Bishop’s Parish Deacon Oversight Committee

Florida-Bahamas Synod (ELCA)
Bishop Pedro Suarez

As of July 27, 2019

Connie Schmucker, ELCA Deacon
Term Expires: Appointed by Bishop

Parish Deacon Jerry Beltz
St. Andrews by the Sea, Jacksonville
Term Expires: 08/31/19

Parish Deacon Jennifer Grumbling  (designate)
St. Mark’s Lutheran, Dunedin
(813) 842-9707
Church Term Expires: 8/31/22

Parish Deacon Chalie Colon
Cristo Rey Lutheran, Orlando
Term Expires: 8/31/20

Parish Deacon Marcy Kyisilka
Redeemer Lutheran, Winter Park
Term Expires: 8/31/21

Rev Dr. Jon Keiser
Term Expires: appointed by Bishop

Rev. Sally Cook
St Michael Lutheran, Wellington
Term Expires: 8/31/20

Rev. Joshua Gyson
All Saints, Tampa
Term Expires: 8/31/19

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a liturgical rite for laying down of a Synod Parish Deacon’s stole?

There is no liturgical rite for the laying down of one’s stole by a Synod Parish Deacon. We recommend a prayer of thanksgiving for the Synod Parish Deacon’s service, at which time the Deacon removes the stole and places it on the altar or drapes it over the communion rail. This is typically done during the Prayers of the Church, as a petition, or at the end of the service right before the benediction. Since the Synod Parish Deacon serves the pastor of the congregation, it would be appropriate for the Pastor to offer the prayer