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History of the United Methodist Deacon: 1996-2021

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.


In 1996, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to create a permanent diaconate. This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this full and equal order. On this page, we feature various resources that have been published since this time. These resources explore the history, theology, and other aspects that have formed and inform the current understanding of the United Methodist Deacon. These resources are available in the library and/or freely online.


Articles, Chapters, Journals, Pamphlets, & Papers

Freely available online resources are indicated by an asterisk at the end.

Articles & Chapters




Deacons are persons called by God, authorized by the Church and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of Word, Service, Compassion and Justice, 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. The work of deacons is a work of justice, serving with compassion as they seek to serve those on the margins of society. 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.”

The United Methodist Book of Discipline 2016 ¶329

Online Resources


Order of Deacons


Order of Deacons in The United Methodist Church


United Methodist Deacons:
20 Years of Leadership in Church and World