Last semester, the dean made me the archdeacon of the chapel. I make the rota, make sure the lecturers know when it is their turn to serve as tutors, ensure the students are there, know what they are doing, time the sermons, ensure the students get feedback on their services, and provide correction as needed (to the teams and the congregation, since the teams come from our faculty congregation). All those years as the head acolyte have paid off in spades!
While we really don't have archdeacons in the US, the dioceses are so large here that they are an administrative necessity. So, when the dean made me the archdeacon, the students knew exactly what that meant. I had to grow into it.
Now, the students just refer to me as The Archdeacon. They don't call me Venerable Jessica, as would be fitting for an archdeacon, but it's as though my name is now The Archdeacon. Some have taken to calling me Canon (to which I say, "no... my bishop knows I'm the archdeacon, and he thinks it's funny."); some call me Bishop (to which I say, "ohmygoodness NO!"). Most call me archdeacon, and even though I tell them I'm really not an archdeacon, I think we've all accepted the honorific title.
This Mary Engelbreit drawing sums up my view of being the archdeacon:
|(c) Mary Engelbreit|
Then I realized that about a third of the congregation had whipped their heads around to look at me. I asked Professor Byaruhanga why they were looking at me; I didn't hide the bags. He laughed and reminded me that I'm the archdeacon, and the students are used to me putting things right.
Perhaps they expected me to make some proclamation about how the offering was being conducted? I don't know.
While it was funny, it also reminded me how seriously the students take my role as the archdeacon. They applaud like mad when I praise or affirm something that a team has done. They make notes when I make corrections or demonstrate something that is in the prayer book, but is new to them.
After being in the classroom, THIS is what I love doing here... guiding, moulding, and encouraging the next generation of clergy.