The Rev. Deacon Jacque Combs: A Deacon on a Mission
By: The Rev. Deacon Clare Barry
Deacon Jacque experienced the call to ordination when she was seventeen years old. She began to think about, “I wonder if I should seek ordination?” Her answer to call came during a canting of the liturgy, “why aren’t you doing this?” she thought. Her process included many years of seeking. Although, her mother grew up at Cavalry Fletcher and her family was United Methodist, she sought another denomination. She had to find a place where she felt comfortable. When she walked into All Souls Cathedral, Jacque said, “I knew I was home.”
Jacque knew that she was drawn to the Eucharist. However, her work as a licensed clinical social worker helped clarify her call, as well as a being a 2010 breast cancer survivor. This compelled her to enter quiet time. Not only did this deepen her discernment, but it “was a big factor in determining where God was calling me next.” Being in spiritual direction enabled Jacque to consider more deeply where God was calling her into the world. “I would also be remiss if I also didn’t include how fortunate I am to have an incredible spouse, who supports my call and shares my love for life and this faithful, vulnerable, radical and bold way we walk in the way of Jesus," Jacque said.
When asked about what defined her ordination process in terms of the diaconate versus the priesthood, Jacque explained she experienced a deep call into the church and the world, “so that the church doesn’t forget about the world and the world knows about the church.”
Deacon Jacque serves Cavalry Fletcher, ever since Bishop José ordained her in 2017. Today her diaconal work includes “a ministry to engage people in discerning their spiritual gifts.” When Jacque went through formation, she was “initially charged with helping others discern their spiritual gifts.” She taught a class about discerning spiritual gifts. In 2011 Jacque was certified in spiritual direction through the pilot program in the Center for Spiritual Resources in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. Her focus at work is on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.
When asked about the ways she practices self care, Jacque answered. “I have a spiritual director. I make sure that I have time alone. I sit contemplatively twice a day, walk, play my guitar, be with family, grandchildren, trying to have healthy boundaries: leaving work at work and leaving church at church.”
Her personal mission is “to engage in the world with humility, authenticity and presence; to engage in the lives of others with respect and compassion; to maintain a vision for peaceful, diverse and empowered communities.” Won’t you join her in her mission? Might God be calling you to the diaconate? Pray about God’s call for your life, think about it, listen to your life. Perhaps God is calling you to this wonderful vocation.
If you are interested in becoming a Deacon? If so, please speak to your rector about beginning the discernment process.