The United Methodist Church has established an office of service for laymen that parallels the historic office of deaconess for laywomen.
Established May 3, the new office is called “home missioner.” The action greatly strengthens professional ministry opportunities for laymen, says the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
Like deaconesses, home missioners will devote their lives to alleviating suffering, eradicating causes of injustice and working to help others develop their full potential. They will serve in local churches and through community-service organizations and agencies beyond the church.
Home missioner candidates will be approved by the Board of Global Ministries, commissioned by a bishop and retain an ongoing relationship with the board. Full-time service will be the norm, with appointments fixed by bishops.
Creation of home missioners provides laymen with an opportunity for lifetime commissioned ministry for the first time since 1996. In that year, the denomination eliminated the category of lay diaconal ministers and established ordained deacons as a route to service ministries for women and men. The home missioner is the denomination’s first program solely for laymen.
General Conference delegates reconfirmed an earlier decision to grant annual conference membership, with voice and vote, to deaconesses and will extend the same privilege to home missioners.
Details are available by contacting Becky Dodson at the Board of Global Ministries at (212) 870-3850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Jones is editor of Response Magazine.
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