The 1992 General Assembly put forward a vision of the ministry of deacons. The report said a deacon’s job description includes the following tasks:
“Exhibit within the church and before the world the exemplary moral authority of sympathy, witness and service after the example of Jesus Christ.”
The office of deacon was established early in the New Testament church to make sure food was distributed to widows and others in need (see Acts 6:1–6). The leader of the first group of deacons was Stephen, whose witness cost him his life (Acts 7).
Early Protestant reformer John Calvin believed that the primary task of the deacon was to take care of the poor and to distribute alms. According to Calvin, helping the poor is worth everything — even to the point of giving yourself and all of your possessions.
To be a deacon involves becoming a servant to others — a role that may not seem very appealing. But this is exactly the role to which Jesus calls all who are truly committed to following him:
“... whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43–45).”
—“What do Presbyterians believe about deacons? Called to be servants” By Stephany Jackson. Reprinted from the April 2009 issue of Presbyterians Today.
Deacons at Osceola Presbyterian Church apply this calling to everything they do. The board divides its work amongst a number of members. Among the outreach programs they support are the following:
CROP Hunger Walk, locally held in Cranford every October, helps to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. In addition, CROP Walk returns 25 % of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in area churches including the Osceola Food Pantry.