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January Event Offers Help in Discerning God's Will for Your Life

General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church

475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115

Tel: 212/870-3921

Diverse hands joined together in unity and/or prayer.

Prayer and fellowship contribute to the discernment of God's will for lives.
Image by: Wendy Whiteside
Source: GBGM Administration

New York/Nashville, Sept. 30, 2008-- Are you feeling God's call to ministry but are overwhelmed by all the possibilities? Explore the possibilities: deaconess, Home Missioner, deacon, elder, including local church pastor, chaplain, or pastoral counselor. Through conversation, study, reflection, prayer you can begin to discern the direction of God's guidance at a January 2009 gathering.

The Jan. 22-25 event is open to anyone 18 years old or older. The event, at Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center in Norcross, Ga., was organized by the General Boards of Global Ministries and Higher Education and Ministry.

The Office of Deaconesses and Home Missioners from Global Ministries is working with those parts of the higher education and ministry agency concerned with ordained ministry--elders and deacons--including chaplains and pastoral counselors. Deaconesses (women) and home missioners (men) are lay persons engaged in servant ministries.

Space is limited for the event and the deadline for application is Dec. 1, 2008. Participants cover their own travel costs but lodging and means are covered by the sponsoring agencies with the stipulation of a $50 deposit upon acceptance. The sum is applied toward meeting costs. Scholarships are available from both sponsors.

The agenda will include Bible study, worship, conversation, reflection, workshops and information on the varied options for answering God's call to ministry in The United Methodist Church.

Those interested in the deaconesses or home missioner relationship can apply online at Those interested in categories related to Higher Education and Ministry will find registration information online at Higher Education and Ministry. Online registration is available at

Varieties of Church-Related Vocations

The following information will be helpful to those who want to explore an interest in church-related vocations:

  • Deaconesses, who are laywomen, and Home Missioners, who are laymen, are called by God to a full-time vocation in service with those who are marginalized and in need in the world today. This community of laity 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. This community of laity 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 Office of Deaconess was established in 1888 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and provides laywomen the opportunity to serve in a life-time lay relationship in servant ministry. The Office of Home Missioner was established at the 2004 General Conference providing laymen with an opportunity to serve in a life-time relationship to the church. This is the first opportunity for laymen to be in an official life-time relationship in ministry since the termination of Diaconal Minister by the 1996 General Conference.
  • Deacons are persons called by God, authorized by the church, and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of Word and Service to both the community and the congregation in a ministry that connects the two. Deacons exemplify Christian discipleship and create opportunities for others to enter into discipleship. In the world, the deacon seeks to express a ministry of compassion and justice, assisting laypersons as they claim their own ministry. In the congregation, the ministry of the deacon is to teach and to form disciples, and to lead worship together with other ordained and laypersons.
  • Elders are ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. By the authority given in their ordination, they are authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to provide pastoral care and counsel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the church for service in mission and ministry.
  • Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors are elders or deacons who engage in ministries of pastoral care in specialized settings. Endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors are appointed to prisons, hospitals, the armed forces, and counseling centers where they serve people in difficult places outside the local church. In more than 16 different civilian settings and in all areas of the military, chaplains and pastoral counselors care for those who are hurting physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

January 2009 Discernment Event Application

Word Document Format Word (1 p., 41 KB), Portable Document Format PDF (1 p., 21 KB)


See Also...

Topic: Missionaries United Methodist Church Women Men
Geographic Region: United States
Source: GBGM Press Releases
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Date posted: Oct 01, 2008