A friend called my attention to Redeemer Presbyterian Church's (NYC) new "Diaconate Director," Jenny Chang... Jenny follows Andrea Mungo who served as Redeemer's Diaconate Director nearly a decade.
Redeemer defines its diaconate thus:
The Diaconate, a group of men and women nominated and elected into the office by the Redeemer members, exists to express in practical ways Christ's command to all believers to love our neighbor as ourselves. We offer help to those in crisis or challenging situations by assessing their needs and working together to find solutions.
Unlike elders, who are responsible for teaching the Gospel, administering healing prayer, and overseeing the church, the officers of the Diaconate (deacons and deaconesses) focus on extending mercy and compassion. Our purpose is to show God's love to those in difficult circumstances by working together with them to resolve their struggles. We aim to be facilitators of the work God is doing in their lives.
The BCO states of the diaconate,
The ordinary and perpetual classes of office in the Church are elders and deacons. Within the class of elder are the two orders of teaching elders and ruling elders. The elders jointly have the government and spiritual oversight of the Church, including teaching. Only those elders who are specially gifted, called and trained by God to preach may serve as teaching elders. The office of deacon is not one of rule, but rather of service both to the physical and spiritual needs of the people. In accord with Scripture, these offices are open to men only.
This may not be as glamorous a section of the PCA standards as the portions of the Westminster Confession dealing with church or sacraments, yet it is a standard of the church and it is being knowingly violated, even flouted....
Has anyone suggested an ad interim study committee at any time in the last ten years? I suspect not. Redeemer evidently feels so secure in this deviation from PCA standards that it boldly proclaims it.
Let's be honest: when an elected office of the church goes this direction all the quibbling on earth about that office being distinct from the eldership amounts to a hill of beans and male eldership hangs by a thread. The slightest hint of acquiescence to female eldership by this church's leadership will cause that standard too to fall--with nary a soul to mourn its passing.
P.S. For those wondering why this is an issue when the New Testament clearly refers to women as deaconesses, the short answer is that the New Testament office is distinct from the New Testament service. Not every one who presides is a president. Yet the terms and function are closely related. So too, a New Testament deacon or deaconess is a servant. That's the meaning of the word. But some who serve are also given the office Servant of the Church, and that office has historically been understood--from the book of Acts onward--to be an official position carrying real power and authority. For more on this see this article by my brother Tim.