Deacon Books on Sale

9780687090327.jpgThe General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has both of Margaret Ann Crain’s deacon books on sale.

Click here to learn more. 

Both of these books are foundational to understanding the ministry of the deacon. A Deacon’s Heart helped shape my own call, and I have been handing out The United Methodist Deacon like candy to those who are expressing a call.

These are great resources, not just for those exploring a call, but for those who wish to learn more about the United Methodist Deacon. They can be helpful for the laity to understand the ministry of the deacon. It may be helpful 71E92CakNuL._AC_UL320_SR208,320_.jpgfor an SPRC with a new deacon on the church staff to read through together.

The Virginia Diaconate read The United Methodist Deacon together a few years ago, and Margaret Ann came led us in a retreat.


Deacons Cut Ribbons

imagesAbout 5 years ago I, along with our Senior Pastor and other church members, attended a graduation at a city school that is an alternative school. These students easily fall through the cracks in larger public schools. This school is designed to help students who come from broken homes, who are parents themselves, who have given up on their education.

Many of the students testified that they were the first in their family to receive a high school diploma. One 19-year-old shared how she has a six-year-old daughter, which resulted in her no longer attending classes. But she was inspired to go back and to get her degree.

Why were we there? Our church is entering into a partnership with this school to support their work. In the next year, the church will be sending volunteers to the school to tutor, to help students get jobs, and empower them to serve in their community. During the graduation service, there was a signing of the partnership agreement, and a ribbon cutting, to make it all official.

I got to cut the ribbon.

At the time the symbolism was lost on me. It was more of an “in-the-moment” kind of moment. It wasn’t really scripted. I, somewhat comically, ended up in the middle of the ribbon and the scissors just appeared in front of me. And so, I cut the ribbon.

I know that deacons are not the only ones who can cut ribbons. But looking back at that moment, it was a perfect symbol for the ministry of the deacon.

The deacon represents the connection between the church and the world, so often described as a bridge. I’m not really sure why this partnership signing had to be sealed with the cutting of a ribbon, but the deacon being able to do so symbolizes that connection between the church and the world.

Wait! What’s a Deacon?

This was originally published in the April 2016 issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate. The focus of this issue was the 20th Anniversary of the Order of Deacon. 

A group of church leaders had gathered for a meeting. The district superintendent mentioned the possibility of hiring a deacon to help the congregation reach beyond the church walls. A woman sitting across the table looked back at the DS with a quizzical expression. “Wait,” she said, “What’s a deacon?”

It’s not the first time that question has been asked. For twenty years, the United Methodist Church has been struggling to articulate the answer, “What’s a deacon?”

Continue reading

Deacon’s Call: Barbara Ward

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  I was happy to meet and know the late Rev. Barbara Ward, who shared her call story. Along with being an ordained deacon and musician, Barbara was a published author. In this post you will hear from Barbara in her own words: 

Standing before the Bishop to be ordained as one of the first Virginia Conference Deacons in Full Connection was, for me, the answer to an impossible dream.

I was just sixteen years old when I received a calling to ministry. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I sat alone in the choir loft of my church, waiting for others to arrive for the Youth Choir Rehearsal. I was gazing idly at the empty church balcony when I was drawn to what looked vaguely like a blue cloud.

Continue reading

Deacon’s Call: Heesung Hwang

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  In this post, you will hear from Heesung Hwang who was recently ordained as a deacon. Here are Heesung’s words: 

My journey to ministry and theological study started from the conversation with my father when I was at the age of fourteen. He used to give me a ride to my school every morning and we shared lots of stories and thoughts. It was such enjoyable moments for both of us. One day, he talked about what he wanted to do in his life. He said he had wanted to set up an organization in order to help orphans because he also faced and experienced the misery of the Korean War and wanted to do something to improve the society as well as his own life.

However, it just did not happen in his weary life. In that morning, he said, “But I still want to do something for lonely children. Although I cannot afford to build an organization or an orphanage, I am about to start donating a small amount of money every month whether it is 5 dollars or 10 dollars.” Those statements just struck me. I said to my father as I got out of the car, “Dad, I will do it. If you don’t make it happen in your life, I will do it.”

Continue reading

Follow Friday: Welsey Bros Concluded

Follow Friday

I have been sharing the story of Wesley Bros over the past two weeks. You may want to start with the first post if you haven’t already.

When he first started Charlie had no direction. He was inventing characters that were based on actual people and forming their personalities based on his own reading of history and what he thought might be funny. As a result, John Wesley is a little bit hipster, “because,” as Charlie says, “those guys are so persnickety and particular.” Charles Wesley, on the other hand, is a little bit more sloppy and fun because he is the creative poet.

"By George Part 4: Let Those Ears Raise Up"

“My first few strips tried to tell major Methodist storylines in one strip,” he recalls. The comic strips covered things that Charlie thought most Methodists would know or needed to know. This included the First, Second, and Third Rise of Methodism, the Aldersgate Experience, and the fire in the Wesley home.

And if you read Wesley Bros you will notice that Charlie runs a few series of extended plotlines. He knew when he started drawing that he wanted to do an extended series on Sophy Hopkey because well, there is all that ridiculousness. “It’s actually a lot easier for me,” Charlie says, “to do a long series like that because one idea flows out of the next.”

That may be why the George Whitefield series lasted for two months. “I thought the Whitefield series was important to tell because it conveys the beginning of field preaching and an evangelical revival, as well as an important split in early Methodism,” says Charlie. He goes on to say:

It’s filled with tons of theology, America’s first celebrity (George), and sermons and hymns were used to tear each other down.  That series really allowed me to go to creative places to visually tell stories in ways I had never thought of doing when I first started out.

Wesley was heavily influenced by so many historical figures, Charlie has made a point of casting some of those characters in the comic, putting them into dialogue and debate with Wesley. He does the same with those whom Wesley has influenced.

"95 Problems (but a wench ain't one)"


Charlie, by combining theology and humor, has made something that is commonly viewed as boring, approachable. And in the process, he is teaching and sharing the main tenants of our United Methodist tradition, as well as the theological truths of being a follower of Christ. The Wesley brothers have always served as models of what it looks like to thrive towards perfection. Anyone who has taught confirmation can tell you that it is often difficult to bring these two models of faithfulness, strugglers of faith, and missionaries to life. Charlie has found one of the most creative ways to do that.

So, if you’re still reading, you can stop now. Go check out Wesley Bros and laugh a little, ponder a little, and share with a friend.