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Deacon Fellows Program

Deacon Studies

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Deacon Studies

NEW: Master of Arts in Public Ministry

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NEW: Master of Arts in Public Ministry

Degrees and Programs

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Degrees and Programs

Deacon Fellows Program

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been a leader in preparing students for ministry as a deacon since The United Methodist Church created the Order of Deacons in 1996. In 1998, Garrett-Evangelical became the first seminary to create a Deacon Studies program and hired Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain as the first Director of Deacon Studies. Today, Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, a deacon in the Virginia Conference, serves as director of the program. She and the entire Garrett-Evangelical community help to provide a supportive environment for students to continue to discern their call and vocation.

As a Deacon Fellow, a student will be a part of a cohort that:

  • has meals together with the Director of Deacon Studies, Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, once or twice a semester;
  • has opportunities to network with deacons in the Chicagoland area;
  • connects through a Garrett-Evangelical Deacons Facebook group;
  • is invited to the Deacon Dialogue –a gathering for deacons from around the country, every other year, for workshops, worship and networking; and
  • has opportunities for internships both inside and outside of the local church, including an internship at Garrett-Evanston Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program.

To learn more about the Fellows program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, contact our Admissions Office at 1.800.SEMINARY (outside of Chicago), 847.866.3998, or GetAdmitted@Garrett.edu.

Meet the Director

Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee

Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee joined Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as associate professor of Christian education and director of deacon studies in 2011. Lee has served in various capacities at numerous churches as a deacon in full connection in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. In addition to her work as a professor and director of deacon studies, Lee has been instrumental in the creation and launch of the Garrett-Evanston Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program. She currently serves as co-executive director of the program.

Lee's academic accolades include receiving the Diaconal Advance Graduate Award and being the first recipient of the Rosalie Bentzinger Graduate Award, both of which are given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC. She has also published articles in both academic and lay journals and has been an active participant in educational and ministerial forums and conferences. Lee earned her doctor of education from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, master of religious education from Duke Divinity School, and bachelor of arts from The College of William and Mary.

Deacon Dialogue

Garrett-Evangelical has been proud to host Deacon Dialogue conferences since 2007. These conferences bring together United Methodist deacons and deacon candidates from across the connection for a time of worship, networking, fellowship, and workshops. Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, deacon, emeritus professor, and former director of deacon studies, put it best when she said, "United Methodist deacons need to speak clearly to the church about who we are and what God has called us to do. Deacon Dialogue provides an opportunity to meet together, hear from some of our most articulate deacons, and share in the efforts to clarify, for the United Methodist Church, the unique contribution of deacons to the mission of Jesus Christ.”

United Methodist Faculty Members