‘Advancing the Mission: The Order of Deacon in the United Methodist Church Book’ by Margaret Ann Crain


As a United Methodist Deacon, I am in awe and Thanksgiving of Margaret Ann Crain for putting together this comprehensive and highly enjoyable historical overview of how the current Deacon order came to be: through persistence, obedience to the Holy Spirit, and strategic planning! This book is a gem and I recommend it to every person who is curious about diaconate ministry!

Also, this quote was one of the most succinct and helpful descriptions of the call to Deacon ministry I have seen to date:

“What is a deacon? A deacon is an extension of the mission of the church, and extension of the Eucharistic table of Grace, wherever she or he is appointed. A deacon is also accountable to the UMC, accountable to uphold the highest standard of ethics to bring the needs of the world to the local church. Deacons are entrepreneurs, seeking out places to respond to the calling that God has placed on their hearts. Deacons are enfleshed representatives of Christ, seeking to contribute to the transformation of the world. Deacons are embodied mission” (Margaret Ann Crain, ‘Advancing the Mission,’ 132).

UMC Northern Illinois Annual Conference Prayer, 10.2.21, Rev. Grant Swanson

God Among Us,

Whose Spirit enlivens our hearts, words, and actions,

Thank you for this community of faith-filled colleagues

who are seeking your guidance in all that we do.

We are especially thankful

to the presenters, organizers, and technology support team

for making this vital day possible.

As we continue to seek and follow the path you have laid for us-

in ministry and service-

to all people and creation-

toward your Kin-dom transformation of the world-

We know that You, Jesus, make a way.

You paved the way for us, proclaiming your ministry,

and calling us as your followers into that ministry,

in Luke 4:18-19:

-To bring good news to the poor

-To proclaim release of the captives

-And recovery of sight to the blind

-To let the oppressed go free

-To proclaim the year of our Lord’s favor.

As you fulfilled this ministry proclamation

in life, death, and resurrection,

may we seek to fulfill that call

in our words, actions, and decisions,

no matter how big or how small,

as individuals and as the Body of Christ,

both in our discussions and votes today,

and in our lives of minsitry and love

today, tomorrow, and evermore.

You make a way for us on this path of ministry

through your incarnate model,

rooted in your divinely boundless love,

and empowered by your dynamic Spirit.