Eastern Pennsylvania Deacons Oppose Changes



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Without a Strong Local Church Relationship, What Does My Bridging Ministry Connect?

Through being appointed to a local congregation I have the ability to claim a place in the ministry of the church. When I am in my primary appointment the majority of Christians I engage with, and especially the Methodists, will ask me where I serve. In response I tell them where I am appointed, which includes the local congregation. In this simple act I communicate that I am grounded in the work of the church and that the church is represented in my primary appointment as well. Wherever I am in ministry, the church and its people are there too. For most people saying I am connected to a conference is not understood. However they understand what it means to be with a congregation or local church.

My appointment “beyond the local church” is not beyond my congregation because it is both engaged in directly by some members of the congregation and it is made possible by the personal and professional support I receive from individual members and the congregation as a whole. While the current reporting and oversight by the SPRC can be confusing, conversations between me and SPRC members have always resulted in an expanded understanding of what the context of ministry can be.

Removing my secondary appointment is the functional equivalent of removing one abutment of the bridge I am called to and was affirmed to be at my ordination.

Doris Warrell more than 10 years ago

Making the bridge explicit

The secondary appointment creates extra paperwork for district superintendents each year. And some congregations have struggled to find an appropriate place for the deacon whose secondary appointment is in their church. Yet, this nomenclature makes the bridge explicit. We need to remember the elders who serve in extension appointments and feel abandoned by the denomination. Few deacons have faced this sad situation because their secondary appointment provides a clear connection to the connection. I hope that the General Conference will find a way to continue the explicit bridge between church and world that the deacons embody.

Margaret Ann Crain, deacon and professor more than 10 years ago

Reply to comment

Thank you for this correction. The article has been revised.

Cynthia Astle more than 10 years ago


Thank you for bringing this topic to the attention of the UMC and especially deacons, who I hope will make their views known to members of their delegations.
I would like to point out that the Order of deacons was brought into being at the General Conference of 1996 and the 2008 General Conference allowed for deacons to be given local sacramental authority by their Bishop. Para. 328 BOD. Deacons continue to serve by connecting the church with the world and the world with the church. There are presently 2,184 deacons and 2,063 deacon candidates.

Anita Wood, Deacon at GBHEM more than 10 years ago