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Newletter

May 2012

 

Introduction of Diaconical Minister Christine Rotella

 

Dear PLUM Partners in Ministry,

Please allow me/us to introduce Diaconal Minister Christine Rotella.  She has been floating through our 7 churches over the last several months observing the many facets of our ministry together.  During her tour, which she has seen as a fascinating journey, she has pondered how she might volunteer using her gifts and help us make the Gospel more relevant and available to the many for whom the church outside our walls get passed by.  Interested in her reflections and hopeful of her continued ministry in our midst we asked Chris to give us the following brief biography and an overview of the role of a diaconal minister in our church. Hopefully this will answer the question, “Who is that attractive, slender, dark haired, lady who occasionally visits our congregation?”  Peace, Pastor John

 

 

My name is Christine Rotella and I am Rostered as a diaconal minister in the ELCA, consecrated in November 2011. My place of call is Mercy Hospital where I have served as a full-time trauma chaplain.  I also serve as a chaplain to Operation Safety Net, tending to the pastoral needs of the staff and their chronically homeless clients. This ministry to the chronically homeless began as a candidacy/seminary project and continues today.

My Lutheran formation was done through the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg.  I completed the first two years of chaplaincy formation through the VA / ACPE hospital system in Pittsburgh, and a third year in trauma residency through ACPE at West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown.

Prior to my affiliation with the Lutheran church I earned a masters degree in systematic theology at Duquesne University.  While serving in the Roman Catholic Church I worked as a youth and young adult minister and then transitioned solely to young adult ministry developing several Theology on Tap sites around Pittsburgh over a three year stretch. It was through this outreach that I found my way into chaplaincy formation and then into the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In chaplaincy formation, I came to understand “call” and refined my sense of call to diaconal ministry.  

As a diaconal minister I am called to move between the congregational /institutional life of the church and the community that exists beyond the walls of the church. The movement is intended to bring the gifts and needs of the church into contact with the gifts and needs of the greater community.

The Evangelical Church in America consecrates a diaconal ministry through prayer and the laying on of hands. The bishop charges the newly consecrated minister with the following words: 

“...serve the needy, care for the sick, comfort the distressed, and through word and actions, witness faithfully to God’s love for all people.  Cross every barrier that stands between the church and its ministry to the world.  Seek out those places where the gospel of Jesus Christ meets the world’s need. Empower, equip, and support the baptized in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Lead us all in proclaiming the gospel in witness and service.  And be of good courage, for God has called you, and your labor in the Lord is not in vain. “

A diaconal minister is given the pitcher and basin as a symbol of Word and Service grounded in our baptism through Jesus Christ (John 13:14-17).  In worship we may wear an alb and cincture with either stole draped diagonally or the towel of service draped over the cincture during worship. Outside of worship we do not wear clerical attire but street clothes appropriate to our places of call. A cross that incorporates an infinity sign is another symbol of diaconal ministry as we serve in constant movement between the internal life of the church and the world to remove any barriers.

         

   
 

Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773