Garrett-Evangelical News

Deacon Dialogue III to Focus on Ways Deacons Lead Church in Servant Ministry

EVANSTON, Ill., January 2010 - Deacon Dialogue III at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in April will focus on ways deacons lead the church in servant ministry, contributing to the mission of The United Methodist Church, and how they embody the interrelationship between worship and service to God in the world.

margaret-ann-crain"Opting for the Margins: The Promise of the United Methodist Deacon" will be Thursday through Saturday, April 15-17, on the seminary campus. It is the third in an ongoing series of Deacon Dialogues at Garrett-Evangelical led by Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, Professor of Christian Education and Director of the Deacon Program at the seminary.

"Those of us who are part of the Order of Deacon in the UMC continue to face challenges in interpreting it to the church," Crain said. "Deacon Dialogue III will be an opportunity to gather with other articulate deacons for deep conversations about our order. We need to speak clearly to the church about who we are, about what God has called us to do and about the unique contribution of deacons to the mission of Jesus Christ."

Highlights on April 15 will be the keynote address, "Opting for the Margins," by Dr. Hendrik Pieterse, director of scholarly research at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as well as GBHEM staff sharing research and future expectations for the Order of Deacon.

On April 16, there will be a report from the Commission for the Study of Ministry, a panel discussion on "Opting for the Margins," and workshops on the following areas of deacons' work:

  • Sexual Boundaries
  • Hungry and Homeless
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Community Organizers
  • Public Education
  • Advocacy and Change
  • Youth Ministries in Mission

The closing day will feature a discussion about next steps in the deacon call to ministry at the margins of society as well as closing worship and Eucharist.

Garrett-Evangelical has been a leader in the Order of Deacon since the order was created at UMC's 1996 General Conference. In 1998, Garrett-Evangelical established a program for deacon education, bringing Crain in 11 years ago to direct the new program.

Today, the seminary's Deacon Program provides those called to ministry as a deacon various routes to prepare them academically. Many students are enrolled in the master of divinity and master of arts programs in Christian Education, Youth Ministry, Spiritual Formation and Evangelism. Others are completing Basic Graduate Theological Studies curriculum along with a master's degree in another field or professional ministry certification.

As students find the courses they need for ordination, they also find nurture and support through regular gatherings, counseling during the discernment process, and major conferences, including the Deacon Dialogues.

Garrett-Evangelical is a graduate school of theology of The United Methodist Church founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.