Skip to Main Content

History of the United Methodist Deacon: Home

In celebration of the 25th anniversary (1996-2021) of the Order of Deacon, this guide details the history of the United Methodist Deacon and the movements, events, and individuals who influenced its creation.


*The United Methodist Order of Deacons logo is used by permission of the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry.

About the Order of Deacon

In 1996, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to create a permanent Order of Deacon. Previously, the church only had a transitional diaconate, with an office for deaconesses and others consecrated as diaconal ministers. This momentous step was made possible through years of advocacy and tireless work by many who published and shared their thoughts and research. This guide contains many of the resources that were instrumental to the creation of the permanent diaconate, and it contains many resources that continue to inform the current understandings as well. The guide is organized based upon the significant time periods within the history of the diaconate in Methodism and Christianity in general. The last tab contains information about the diaconate in other Christian traditions and connected Biblical research. Join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this full and equal order!

25th Anniversary Deacon Logo

Celebrating 25 Years of UMC Deacons Virtual Event

During the month of April, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will host a series of virtual events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Order of Deacon in the United Methodist Church and launch the inaugural Crain-Seymour Endowed Lecture. See the links below to register and for more information about these events.