THL426 The Diaconate (8)

The order of deacon in the Christian Church has undergone great changes over the centuries. Students will examine contemporary developments in this order of ministry in the light of its history and the practice of the Church.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed THL220 The Diaconate.

Subject Relationships

THL220 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to reflect theologically on diaconal ministry, in the light of tradition and practice;
  • be able to articulate and to evaluate expressions of the diaconate in the New Testament;
  • be able to trace the subsequent development of church order and critically evaluate the place of the diaconate within it;
  • be able to discuss the modern day re-emergence of the diaconate, examining its expression in various Christian traditions;
  • be able to communicate a diaconal mission, practice and spirituality in light of contemporary church order and mission; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research, writing and communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The expressions of the diaconate in the New Testament
  • The development of threefold order of ministry in the early church
  • The place of the diaconate in the patristic and medieval periods
  • The renewal of the diaconate in contemporary thought and praxis
  • The place and function of the diaconate in various western Christian traditions (e.g., Uniting Church, Anglican, Roman Catholic)
  • A contemporary diaconal spirituality
  • The diaconate and mission
  • The liturgical role of the deacon
  • Contemporary challenges for the diaconate

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL426 in Session 1 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Summary of theological reflection methodology
five theological reflections
Reflective essay

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The compulsory residential school will assist the student in the development and understanding of the Diaconate, its history, its development, and its application to various ecclesial situations and circumstances in the contemporary church. The students will critically reflect, both individually and in groups, on the role of the Diaconate in the 21st century, and hear from practicing deacons of the challenges for diaconal ministry in Australia.

The compulsory residential will include experiential exercises, field trips, group discussions, videos and face-to-face lectures.

Special Resources

Online students who enrol in this subject are required to travel to attend the compulsory residential school in Canberra and also to arrange their own accommodation and meals.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.