About the Diaconal Order
The Methodist Diaconal Order is both an Order of Ministry and a Religious Order within the Methodist Church in the UK. It was formed in 1989 as a successor to the Wesley Deaconess Order and is open to both women and men. Diaconal ministry is one of two ordained ministries within the Methodist Church. Deacons and Presbyters, Equal but Different.
A Dispersed Community
Currently the Order has over 280 deacons scattered throughout the British Isles who follow a common Rule of Life. They appoint a full time Warden from among their number, meet annually in Convocation and support each other through prayer, friendship and regular Area Groups.
The deacon's role focusses on bridging the gap between the church and the world
A Deacon's Role
Deacons are normally appointed to work in Circuits alongside presbyters and lay people. Their role focusses on bridging the gap between the church and the world, and has been described as 'standing in the doorway of the church', keeping the door open both ways.
Circuits apply to the Order when they wish to appoint a deacon to join their staffing team. Appointing a Deacon There is scope for a great deal of imagination in the creation of appointments for deacons. Different Styles of Diaconal Ministry.
The nature of diaconal ministry
The ministry offered by deacons is not exclusive to deacons. Rather their work overlaps with that of others as part of the bigger picture. Their main charge is to model, integrate and encourage others in the servant ministry of Christ.
... to model, integrate and encourage others in the servant ministry of Christ
A deacon may:
Like church stewards, be found greeting people at the door rather than in the vestry before worship.
Like Presbyters or class leaders, lead groups for prayer and study, be available for people pastorally, caring for the young and old.
Like all members of a congregation, seek out the needs of the local community.
In each area of ministry deacons take extra steps, for example:
Walking the streets of the local community, making contacts and bridges between people, social services and other agencies as well as people and the Church.
Using all opportunities available to them to strengthen and encourage people's Christian faith In every aspect of their life: home, neighbourhood and workplace.
enabling church people in their daily ministry and, through intercession, bringing the needs of The world into the heart of worship and challenging the church to respond.
In these ways, the servant ministry of Jesus Christ and of his Church is strengthened.
Deacons have a public role representing the Church to the community, working on behalf of God and the Church. They have been called by God, trained and ordained to the ministry in which they remind and help the Church to live out their role as servants of God in the world.