Traditional Episcopal Deacon Ordination Gifts

Written by linda neas
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Traditional Episcopal Deacon Ordination Gifts
A deacon's duties include baptising babies. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The Episcopal Church ordains both men and women as deacons, which is usually the first step toward priesthood. However, some people are ordained as permanent deacons. Deacons serve the clergy and church in a variety of ways. They assist during services, baptise, give pastoral care and sometimes officiate at marriages. Traditional gifts for deacons, therefore, reflect these duties.

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An Episcopal deacon typically wears an alb, the long white robe worn over street clothes and a stole worn over the alb. The stole hangs from the left shoulder, across the chest and ties on the right side hanging to knee length. Vestments are a gift new and old deacons appreciate, since they wear them at all services. Clerical outfitters carry a variety of vestment styles, so it is important to ask specifically for Episcopal vestments.


A deacon wears the stole throughout the liturgical year, therefore, he or she needs several stoles in the various liturgical colours. The colours, most often white, red, green and purple, represent the liturgical seasons and specific holy days. Making a stole is not difficult. Giving a handmade stole as a present as an ordination gift to a deacon is a meaningful and treasured gift. Often, women in a parish create stoles as a parish gift.

Episcopal Shield

Items with the Episcopal Shield are also a traditional gift for those ordained as deacons. The Episcopal Shield, a white shield with a red cross and nine small white crosses forming the cross of St. Andrew in a blue field in the left-hand quadrant, symbolises the history of the church. The Episcopal Church adopted the shield in 1940. There are a variety of gift items, such as desk sets and wooden keepsake boxes, adorned with the Episcopal Shield.

Books and Crosses

Presenting a deacon with a monogrammed Bible or Book of Common Prayer is a thoughtful and cherished gift. While the St. James version of the Bible is the most traditional, there are also newer translations to consider. The Book of Common Prayer contains the liturgy of the Episcopal Church. Cross pendants are another gift that celebrates the deacon's calling and can be worn throughout the year.

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