- LDA RECEIVES MEN INTO DIACONAL FORMATION
- The Lutheran Deaconess Association (LDA), a center for diaconal service and learning, now prepares men for lives of servant leadership through the diaconal formation process. Three men began the two-to-four year process in Spring, 2012.
The LDA, adjoining Valparaiso University, has prepared women for service ministries in the church and society since 1919. Creation of a community of men as part of the LDA diaconate grows out of the church’s understanding that every Christian is called to a life of diaconal service. The church sets apart diaconal leaders to guide, encourage, and assist Christians in that service. The LDA Board recognizes that there are men who have heard God’s call to a life of service within community.
The LDA is committed to preserving the Lutheran Deaconess Conference (LDC), the women’s community, as a unique witness to the church and to the world. The new Community of Lutheran Deacons (CLD) is complementary to the female community within the LDA diaconate.
An LDA deacon is equipped for professional diaconal ministry just as is a deaconess. This is not to be confused with the title "deacon" -- sometimes used by congregations to designate special lay leadership roles.
LDA deaconesses and deacons are called and equipped to express their Christian vocation through church, civic, or human service professions of their choosing. Through faith in action, they reach out to those at the margins of society, providing hospitality, hope, and care for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Dr. Steve Arnold, one of the first male applicants, said, “I have known about the LDA since I was in high school … [and] I have dreamed of a place where deacons might be in intentional Lutheran community that is in partnership with the community of deaconesses.” Arnold, now a spiritual director, formerly led the Director of Christian Education (DCE) program at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, where he received the “Christus Magister” Award from the Lutheran Educators Association.
The LDA’s individualized process capitalizes on students’ gifts and interests to develop servant-leaders. In addition to theology and spiritual growth, key elements of the process include relationships with mentors and supervised ministry experience. Deaconess Diane Marten, Director of Education/Formation, was integral in developing the current preparation program. She has a wealth of experience from private counseling, chaplaincy, and congregation ministry. Marten said, “As the preparation program channels students into two LDA supported communities, we will develop multiple points of integration during diaconal formation. Each community is expected to maintain its own identity.”
For more information about this program, please contact Diane Marten or call 219-464-6925.