Deborah Laforet’s diaconal ministry is lived out as Lead Minister at St. Paul’s United Church in Oakville.
Commissioned June 2, 2007 in Baltimore, ON
Program of Formation
I began with the Leadership Development Module (LDM) at the Centre for Christian Studies (CCS). I then took a reflection and then started with the Social Justice Theme Year in
September of 2003. I graduated on March 18, 2007.
What called you to diaconal ministry?
While on maternity leave for my second child, I began to feel a call to follow Jesus in some way; I just wasn’t sure yet what that would look like. I then met someone who was doing some studies at CCS. I felt drawn to diaconal ministry and its focus on education, social justice, and pastoral care. I never imagined myself as an ordained
minister in a pulpit, but this kind of ministry sounded more to my liking.
Describe some of your experiences of ministry
I was settled in Stoughton, SK in 2007. I had asked for a location where I would be on my own. I felt I needed to find my identity as
minister. I was in a single point pastoral charge and absolutely loved my time in Saskatchewan. There were challenges of course, but I loved the prairies and I loved the people. I was president of that conference from 2011-2012 and my most vivid memory is being a part of
a community reconciliation event in Lebret, SK, where I offered the United Church words of apology.
In 2012, my family and I packed up and left Saskatchewan and moved back to Ontario. I became Christian Education minister in Oakville at St. Paul’s. I have really enjoyed my work with the children and youth and their families. I continue to enjoy my wider church work as well,
co-chairing Halton Presbytery for two years and then chairing the Transition Commission of Region 9 or Horseshoe Falls Region. I am
currently the lead minister of the same congregation and learning to work as part of a larger staff team.
I have also had the privilege of being the DUCC (DIAKONIA of the United Church of Canada) alternate representative to DOTAC (DIAKONIA
of the Americas and the Caribbean). I attended a DOTAC conference in Brazil in 2015 and a conference of the DIAKONIA World Federation in Chicago in 2017.
How do you explain Diaconal Ministry to others?
How I explain Diaconal Ministry depends on with whom I’m talking. I might compare it to ordained minister, with which most people are familiar. I might talk about diakonia in the bible and what the word means. I might talk about the values of community and justice. I might explain a bit about how I was formed as a diaconal minister. I might invite them to join me with some diaconal colleagues or bring them to a national gathering. Or I might just show them how I do
ministry in a diaconal way.
What gives you the most satisfaction, reward, sense of fulfillment from the ministry you do?
Community is what I value most and when I see others excited about being in community or longing to be in community with others, my heart
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