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SOCIAL JUSTICE: Deacons in Ministry

Celebrating 25 Years of the Order of DeaconSaturday, April 24, 2021  |  11:00 a.m. (CDT)  |  Via Zoom

Held in conjunction with the Inaugural Margaret Ann Crain and Jack L. Seymour Endowed Lecture Series and in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Order of Deacons in The United Methodist Church (UMC), this panel discussion will feature Rev. Doris Dalton, Rev. Hank Jenkins, and Rev. Paul Perez and will be moderated by Rev. Martina Efodzi.

Deacons from across the connection will share their experiences and expertise in furthering the work of social justice in a one-hour panel discussion. Social justice work related to missio dei will be discussed. Rev. Martina Efodzi will facilitate the discussion with panelists Rev. Doris Dalton, Rev. Paul Perez, and Rev. Hank Jenkins.

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Rev. Doris DaltonRev. Doris K. Dalton is the Director of Leadership Development and Intercultural Competency for the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. She previously served her community as the Executive Director of the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, where she focused on public education, advocacy and community-building to advance racial equity. She believes in the power of love to break down barriers and build bridges of possibility. Her life’s mission statement is “Extending the Table of Love so All May Eat and Be Full.” She believes our greatest work together is to establish Beloved Communities that create space for all of us to transform from strangers into friends. A strong, beloved community will be able to effectively address the materialism, militarism and racism that Dr. King spoke about at Riverside Church so long ago (“Beyond Vietnam”, 1967).

Rev. Hank JenkinsRev. Hank Jenkins is an ordained Deacon out of the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. He earned his Master of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary focusing his work on empowering leadership among disabled individuals within the church. Hank is currently the Co-Chair of the Association of Ministers with Disabilities and spends the bulk of his ministry working with churches on how to make our spaces more welcoming and hospitable to people with disabilities. Hank also has 10 years of experience in youth ministry.

Rev. Paul PerezRev. Paul Perez is an ordained Deacon and serves as Director for Connectional Ministry for the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church. Previously, Paul served as Associate Director for Mission and Ministry, working with the Michigan Conference's mission and justice ministries. Paul was the founding director of Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan’s Metro Detroit site, a United Methodist related immigration legal aid provider. He also served as Director of Program Development at Newburg UMC in Livonia, Michigan. Paul currently serves on the boards of JFON Michigan, The NOAH Project in Detroit, and the General Board of Church Society of The United Methodist Church. In the past, he served as Chair of the board of Michigan United, a statewide community organizing and social justice organization. He is a member of the Michigan Conference's 2020 General Conference delegation. Paul is a graduate of Michigan State University and Wesley Theological Seminary. He lives in Livonia, Michigan with his wife, Anne, and their three children, Joshua, Sofia, and Charles.


Rev. Martina EfodziOriginally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rev. Martina E. Efodzi is a Board-Certified Art Therapist, Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor serving in Washington, DC and Maryland.  Deeply committed to social justice concerns, she earned a B.A in political science and a M.Div. in religious studies from Howard University in 2002 and 2007 respectively, before receiving a M.A. in art therapy from George Washington University in 2011.  

As an ordained Deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, she serves in an appointment beyond the local church as a psychotherapist in private practice and an adjunct professor of art therapy at George Washington University.  For over ten years, prior to that, she served at Whitman-Walker Health where she specialized in providing culturally competent care to marginalized groups, specifically those living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ+ community.  In addition to her clinical work, Martina has facilitated a countless number of healing arts workshops with a variety of schools, universities, government agencies, community and faith-based organizations and churches for individuals of all ages and abilities, along the East Coast.   


Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.Rev. Leo Yates, Jr. is a nationally certified sign language interpreter with more than 25 years of professional experience. He has interpreted at the last two General Conferences, as well as Jurisdictional Conferences. Leo holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling. Currently, he is completing a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling. As a deacon serving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, he is appointed to Vocational Rehabilitation as a licensed clinician. His secondary appointment is at Emmanuel UMC in Laurel, MD. Also, he is an adjunct professor at Wesley Theological Seminary.  He specializes in Deaf ministry, disability ministry, and counseling. Leo lives in Maryland with his partner.

April 24, 2021


Since the establishment of the Order of Deacon in 1996, Garrett-Evangelical has remained committed to preparing deacons of The United Methodist Church for service both within the local congregation and in communities around the globe. We join with so many others and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Order of Deacon in The United Methodist Church!

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