RIP: Ormonde Plater, author of ‘Many Servants’

Posted Aug 9, 2016

ens_080916_Ormonde[The Association for Episcopal Deacons] The Association for Episcopal Deacons is saddened by the loss of Archdeacon Ormonde Plater, Diocese of Louisiana, to the worldwide diaconal community. Ormonde died Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, after a long illness.

It would be hard to overestimate Ormonde’s contribution to the development of the Episcopal Church’s restoration of the distinctive diaconate in ordained ministry, and his theological leadership extended around the globe.  His book Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons, provided a historical overview of the Episcopal diaconate and a rationale for the renewal of the order.  He also authored The Deacon in the Liturgy and Intercession, as well as other volumes which continue to play an essential role in the education and formation of deacons in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Ormonde’s leadership extended to the creation of the organizational infrastructure needed for the renewed diaconate to prosper, as well.  He was an early member of AED’s predecessor organization, the North American Association for the Diaconate, and he served faithfully on our board and as our president.  In his last appearance at one of AED’s assemblies, he provided a sage and comprehensive overview of the history and development of the Episcopal Church’s diaconal movement.  An early adopter of internet technologies, for over 20 years he has hosted the anglodeacons and archdeacons Yahoo groups, a modality of communications which has enabled deacons to communicate around the world and vastly expand their ability to collaborate in both diaconal action and in reflection on the renewed order.

Ormonde was ordained a deacon in 1971 at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans. Over the years he served the Episcopal Church in parish, diocesan, prison and hospital ministries.

There are indeed many stories of Ormonde that will be shared as we celebrate his life and ministry among us.  Please add your reflections and your pictures as together, we mourn the passing of this worldwide diaconal leader.  We know he rests in peace and are certain he has risen in glory.  Well done, good and faithful servant!

Read the New Orleans Advocate‘s obituary here.


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Comments (9)

  1. Father Fred Fenton says:

    Ormonde was a prince among men. While rector of St. James, Baton Rouge, I observed Ormonde participating in diocesan services, always with a grace and ease that displayed his deep knowledge of the Liturgy and ability to work well with clergy unfamiliar with the ceremonial demands of large events. He helped us see the strategic, servant witness of the vocational diaconate and to encourage its full development in the life of the Church. Ormonde will be missed.

  2. Tina Campbell says:

    I was privileged to meet Ormande many times that first decade when the Formation Directors’ gatherings were in New Orleans. I remember being enormously flattered when he reprinted my nominee statement for General Convention during the gay rights wars of the early 90s, and also when he invited me to contribute to Many Servants (but I was teaching and too busy.) I am saddened at his passing. A great voice has fallen silent.

    Tina Campbell, Past-President
    Association for Episcopal Deacons

  3. Ronald Peak says:

    Somehow, very late in my seminary experience, and again early in my ordained ministry, my path crossed Ormonde’s, and he taught me what servanthood was all about, and somehow he insured I would never forget that though I had been ordained a Priest, I would always be a Deacon. What a person, what a gift to me, and to the world. I know he rests in peace.

  4. Len Freeman says:

    A seminal figure…
    may he rise from strength to strength in the life of perfect service.

  5. RV Cate says:

    I am in the formation to the Diaconate- his reads, I believe should be mandatory for all who are postulants in formation for the diaconate. I am saddened by his passing however certainly know he has gone on to join ALL the company of heaven.

  6. Ormonde was one of the principal architects of The Hanover Report–The Diaconate as Ecumenical Opportunity that touched the diaconal renewal worldwide. He led the reframing, in 2003, of the Title III canons covering diaconal formation, ordination, and ministry. And was one of first to be named, by his bishop, to serve as Archdeacon for the deacons of Louisiana–but in reality for the deacons of The Episcopal Church. A giant in our midst–with great humility and humor.

    1. Teresa Wakeen says:

      Beautiful, Rod. Thank you for this history and for your words of honor.

  7. Vicki Gray says:

    We have many worthy archdeacons. Ormonde was the archetype who inspired us all. Rest with God, dear soul.

  8. Charmaine Kathmann says:

    I am a better person and deacon because I knew Ormonde Plater. He always said that it was a deacon’s role to build and form the backbone of the social and justice ministries of the church so the laity could do the hands-on work. The deacon would be there to offer help and guidance.

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