A Calling to Serve
Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner
For laity in The United Methodist Church who feel called to a full-time vocation in service with those who are marginalized and in need in the world today, there is an opportunity to be a part of a supportive community in connection with The United Methodist Church as a deaconess or home missioner.
While the Office of Deaconess has been a part of our tradition as a church since 1888, the Office of Home Missioner was established at the 2004 General Conference providing lay men with an opportunity to serve in a life-time relationship in The United Methodist Church. This has been the first opportunity for lay men to be in an official life-time relationship in ministry since the closing of the option of Diaconal Minister by the 1996 General Conference. The Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner is the only currently active recognized office in The United Methodist Church for those called to full time vocations in servant ministries as laity.
Provision for Office
The provision for the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner in The United Methodist Church is found in paragraph 1313 of the 2004 The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.
There shall be in The United Methodist Church the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner. The purpose of the office of deaconess and home missioner shall be to express representatively the love and concern of the believing community for the needs in the world and to enable, through education and involvement, the full ministry and mission of the people of God. Deaconesses and home missioners function through diverse forms of service directed toward the world to make Jesus Christ known in the fullness of his ministry and mission, which mandate that his followers:
- Alleviate suffering;
- Eradicate causes of injustice and all that robs life of dignity and worth;
- Facilitate the development of full human potential; and
- Share in building global community through the church universal.
Deaconesses, who are lay women, and home missioners, who are lay men, are professionally trained persons who have been led by the Holy Spirit to devote their lives to Christlike service under the authority of the Church. (Paragraph 1313.2)
Commissioning: Deaconesses and home missioners are approved by the General Board of Global Ministries and commissioned by a bishop at a session of the board or at a setting approved by the board. They have a continuing relationship to The United Methodist Church through the General Board of Global Ministries.
Church Membership: A deaconess or home missioner shall hold church membership in a local church within the conference where her / his appointment is located and shall be a voting member of the charge conference of that church. Those holding staff positions with a general board or connectional agency of The United Methodist Church may hold church membership in an annual conference within reasonable distance of the headquarters of the board or agency served. A deaconess or home missioner whose appointment is located outside the boundaries of an annual conference may hold her or his church membership in a local church in her or his home conference or in the local church in the annual conference in which she or he last held her or his church membership. (Paragraph 1313.4)
Annual Conference: Deaconesses and home missioners shall be seated at the sessions of the annual conference with voice and vote. (Paragraph 1313.5)
A deaconess or home missioner shall be a member of the annual conference in accordance with paragraphs 32 and 602.4. (Paragraph 1313.6)
Deaconesses and home missioners are available for service with any agency or program of The United Methodist Church. Deaconesses and home missioners may also serve in other than United Methodist Church agencies or programs, provided that approval be given by the board in consultation with the bishop of the receiving area. (Paragraph 1313.2)
Together, deaconesses, who are lay women, and home missioners, who are lay men, form a covenant community that is rooted in scripture, informed by history, driven by mission, ecumenical in scope and global in outreach. This is a community of laity who has responded to the call of God in their lives and has been commissioned by The United Methodist Church to full-time ministries of love, justice and service. The ministries may be in a church-related vocation or helping profession. Current ministries include but are not limited to issues related to prison, environment, refugees, immigration, health care, education, homelessness, women and children, youth and families, senior adults, peace with justice, working poor, and a wide variety of church and community ministries.
For More Information
If you would like to know more about the deaconess and home missioner movement or learn more about the qualifications and steps to become a deaconess or home missioner, please contact:
General Board of Global Ministries
Deaconess Program Office
Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner
475 Riverside Drive #320
New York, NY 10115
You may visit our Web site under Mission Personnel at http://gbgm-umc.org.