Lay Deacon Program

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What is the Lay Diaconate?

The Diaconate in the Holy Scriptures

The diaconate is a group of people committed to service in and for the Church, a group which has its roots in the New Testament [see Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6]. As the Church catholic has grown, so too, the diaconate has had a history of development and usage. The diaconate has had a variety of definitions over time and has included a broad range of people, privileges, and responsibilities all dealing with sharing the Word of God and service in the Lord’s kingdom.

Purpose of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

The Atlantic District Lay Deacons are trained laity who are granted the opportunity to work under the Office of the Public Ministry in service to the local church, her members and to the world through works of mercy and witness as directed. The purpose of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate is to provide some basic and uniform standards for preparation, education, and accountability; to offer opportunities for continuing education, fellowship, and support; to encourage excellence in service; and to be a forum for mutual concerns and needs. The Atlantic District Lay Diaconate is standardized and exists exclusively within the Atlantic District.

Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate are men and women selected and nominated by the local congregation and its pastor and approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors to serve after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ by sharing the Word and doing acts of service. Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate are those individuals who apply for membership, meet the requirements as set by the Atlantic District, and subscribe to these guidelines for service and supervision. An Atlantic District Lay Deacon’s focus of work is in the local congregation and in the surrounding community through those congregations.

- From the Guidelines for the Atlantic District Lay Deacons Program

2023-24 Academic Year

It is with praise to our most gracious God and joy that the schedule for the 2024-2023 academic year of the Atlantic District Lay Deacon Training Program has been finalized. It includes:

Old Testament

A survey course of the Old Testament, its literature and importance in preparing for the coming of the Messiah and the covenant history between God and His people. (September-October)
Instructor: The Rev. Martin A Tyce, Pastor, Atonement Lutheran ChurchStony Point, NY
Dates: September 12,19,26, October 3,10,17, 2023

New Testament

A survey of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and the origins and growth of the Christian message within the Apostolic Church. (November-December)
The Rev. Dr. Robert Hartwell, Pastor, Village Lutheran Church Bronxville, NY
November 7, 14, 21, 28. December 5, 12.2023

Christian Doctrine

An overview of the beliefs of the Christian Church with a special emphasis on the Lutheran perspective as explained in the Book of Concord. (January-February)
 The Rev. Dr. Joshua Hollmann, Pastor, True Light Lutheran Church New York, NY
 January 9, 16, 23, February 6,13,20, 2024

Theology and Practice of Worship

an overview of the history of Christian worship and Lutheran practices, including practical experiences in assisting in a variety of worship settings ranging from traditional to contemporary and blended worship formats. (March-April) This is a practical course which will include "home congregation" activities supervised by local pastor including assisting at worship [Mid-Week Lenten Services, for example].
Instructor: The Rev. Adam Wiegand, Pastor, St Paul's Lutheran Church Saratoga Springs, NY
 March 5, 12, 19, April 9, 16, 23, 2024

Christian Service and Care

a study designed to provide the student with the knowledge, skill and desire to deal gently with those whom they are called to serve, learning to carry each other's burden and so fulfill the law of Christ [Gal. 6:1-2]. (May-June) This is a practical course which will include "home congregation" activities supervised by local pastor, including visitations.
 The Rev. Dr. John Fleischmann, Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church East Moriches, NY
 May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 18, 2024


  • Lay congregational members and all interested in taking a course may register to do so. The fee is $100.
  • Continuing education options for lay deacons and lay members of congregations are being developed to run concurrently with the regular academic offerings and will include one evening online session in the fall and spring.

Lay Diaconate Guidelines

Complete guidelines and details for those interested in the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

Get Started

Download applications and resources below to get started in the AD Diaconate Program!

Class Schedule

Cycle 1

  • Old Testament Studies
  • New Testament Studies
  • Theology of Worship
  • Christian Doctrine
  • Christian Care

Cycle 2

  • Interpreting Scripture
  • Teaching the Faith
  • Sharing the Faith
  • Evangelism
  • Apologetics (Formerly History of the Church)

Each class is usually six weeks in length. Registered participants will receive a class schedule, along with instructors’ name, prior to the academic year.

Class Participation

All classes are on-line, using an established Distance Education System. Classes may be viewed:

  • Live Session - Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:30 PM
  • Individual study at home at your leisure via recorded sessions
  • Active, Certified Deacons may also audit the courses Continuing Education Credit.for the discounted fee of $50. Registration is required.

Program Costs - In addition to the varying cost of texts to be used, Tuition for each course is $200, payable either by credit card or personal check to the Atlantic District, and sent directly to the District Offices. Mark your check Lay Deacon Training Program.

Scholarship Funds are available. A rebate of $50 will be granted to matriculated students upon successfully completing the course. Contact the Program Registrar for more information: [not available for those auditing the courses for Continuing Education]

Registration - Applications are available from the Registrar and Atlantic District Lay Deacon Program Coordinator, Rev Henry Albrechtsen. Please contact him for both registration and scholarship applications, as well as with any questions, at;

All completed forms must be submitted to Rev Albrechtsen.

Q & A

Q: Have there been recent changes in the Lay Deacon Training Program?
A: Yes. Since September 2018, the Atlantic District has assumed sole responsibility for the administration of the Lay Deacon Training Program. The manner of the Program remains through computer based distance learning, and remains offered to all participating ECCE Districts.

Q: What benefit does distance learning provide?
A: Participants can study when most convenient for them: simultaneously with the live session, or independently as their schedule dictates by reviewing the recorded class. Completion of the Atlantic District Lay Deacon Training Program will allow certified Atlantic District Lay Deacons to transfer their status, with some provisions, to other participating Districts.

Q: In addition to the classes, are there other requirements for the Program?
A: Applicants must complete the Registration Form, as well as provide a letter of support from their congregational Pastor and Parish Council. During the length of the Program and immediately afterwards, each participant will engage in an internship, providing over the course of 200 hours for practical experience in several areas of service.

Q: Are there opportunities to meet with other students?
A: Each individual cohort is encouraged to meet and view the class together at a central location whenever possible. Such sites will be designated according to need and opportunity during the course of study. IN addition, there are several opportunities for fellowship, including monthly Regional breakfasts and annual rallies, Regional Bible studies, and the annual Atlantic District Lay Deacon Retreat for all members and students, as well as guests.

Q: How do I know if I should become an Atlantic district Lay Deacon?
A: Begin with prayer. Then speak with your Pastor, share your desire to serve and your willingness to prepare through study and practical experience.