The Rev. Tracie Middleton, deacon serving at Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, has assumed the role of president of the Association of Episcopal Deacons (AED) in the wake of the resignation of the Rev. Douglas Argue. Argue has resigned as president to focus solely on his critical work with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio during this Covid 19 crisis. Middleton, who was serving as vice president of AED, will continue her ministry at Trinity.
In resigning the position, Argue wrote to the members of AED: “After spending some time in discerning prayer on Easter day (I am grateful for my faith during this time), I understood clearly what God is requiring of me — lead with a single focus. So, to that end I have resigned from all my leadership roles effective April 23rd – including AED. . . .My soul is clear, my heart is balanced, my head is focused. I wish you peace and health on each of your journeys. May God bless you and keep you. “All shall be well…and all manner of thing shall be well.”
In accepting the position, Middleton wrote to the members of AED, “I am grateful to Douglas for his leadership at this time, and for the clarity of his decision, grounded in his primary calling as a deacon. It has been a privilege to work with and learn from him over the past few years on the board and especially this last year. Both in making his decision and in sharing how he came to it, Douglas is offering us a gift by demonstrating how to focus. He’s very clear that, among all his various commitments, his priority is first to those who are most vulnerable.
“In the examination at the ordination of a deacon, we hear this: At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself. Our focus is always on serving Christ, and for deacons, that’s “all people,” but particularly “the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.” If any of us is feeling stretched thin right now, Douglas’s example invites us to consider that it’s wise, and maybe necessary, to let go of some things in order to be more fully available to higher priorities, which may be your family, your work, a particular ministry, or something else. Take time to pray about it rather than trying to just keep juggling.
“The challenges ahead will take time; many of us may need to adjust in order not to burn ourselves out. The board and staff of AED are a great group of talented folks, well-equipped to maintain the continuity of our work. I look forward to collaborating with them and with all of you as we adapt to new circumstances in both the church and the world and create new links between the two.”
Please pray for all deacons in their work in this critical time in the church and in our world.